Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 379..
Questions without notice
MR SMYTH: My question was actually for the Minister for Health; so it will go to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, midway through last year the Canberra Hospital was reviewed by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards as part of its accreditation process. Minister, why did the Canberra Hospital receive accreditation for only two years instead of the full four-year accreditation?
MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Mr Speaker, I am pleased to announce that in May 2004 the Canberra Hospital was surveyed by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and was awarded full accreditation for two years. The Canberra Hospital has maintained ongoing accreditation since 1993. Two years is considered a good outcome for the Canberra Hospital, given that this was the first time that the hospital had been surveyed since the introduction in 2003 of the third edition of the ACHS EQuIP, when 19 mandatory criteria were implemented.
In 2003 the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards revised its EQuIP standards and introduced 19 mandatory criteria. The areas evaluated include care continuum, safe environment and human resource management. TCH met all the continuum care standards that cover the care and services provided to patients. The Canberra Hospital achieved a rating of moderate achievement or better for 70 per cent of the 19 criteria and 72 per cent overall. The Canberra Hospital did not fail any criteria.
The report indicated that improvement was required in some mandatory and some non-mandatory criteria. The ACHS has reported, since the introduction of the mandatory criteria in January 2003, 66 per cent of health organisations undergoing survey have achieved two years full accreditation and only a minority of hospitals achieved a four-year accreditation.
In response to the ACHS report, the Canberra Hospital management introduced a broad quality action plan to address all of the criteria that required improvement. This plan was forwarded to the ACHS in December 2004.
Mr Speaker, I am happy to inform members of the Assembly that work is well under way on implementing the action plan, and achievements are already apparent.
MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why did your government conceal this limited accreditation from the public? Will you table in the Assembly both the report and the action plan?
MR STANHOPE: The government had no intention to not reveal to the ACT public anything about healthcare and healthcare quality outcomes in the ACT. In fact, to actually put the lie to any suggestion that the ACT government was seeking to cover up the outcomes of this particular process or this survey in any way, it needs to be remembered-and I do not know whether it has been reported-that the outcomes of the survey were provided to all staff at the Canberra Hospital in September last year. The information was conveyed, I understand, through an all-staff bulletin to every single member of staff at the Canberra Hospital. That was in September last year. To suggest