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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 5 Hansard (6 April) . . Page.. 1425..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

2004 election. And you people got flogged. So I do not need to do that. The community of the ACT has spoken, Mr Pratt, and you just did not listen to it.

MR PRATT: Minister, is the ACT government afraid that an on-road cycle lane usage survey would show that Canberra motorists have had to suffer needlessly the reduction of road widths, compromising their own and cyclists' safety, particularly on major arterial roads, and that the figures would not justify the millions of dollars spent on the construction of these lanes?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, the government is not afraid that the cycle lanes process is not efficacious. It is not afraid that motorists are suffering in the way that Mr Pratt believes. The only thing that the government is afraid about is that half of those people over there will go early and be replaced by people who have some intelligence.

Hospital waiting lists

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on 22 March, in relation to the elective surgery waiting lists reaching a new record of 5,057, you told WIN news, "Oh, this is, this is very, very much the outcome that I expected and it's normal following the end of the Christmas period."

In February 2000, 976 patients were treated. In the following year, for the same month, 988 were treated. In February 2002, 682 were treated; in February 2003, 737; in February 2004, 811 and February this year, 674 were treated—the fewest treated on record for February.

In every other year except this year the waiting list dropped in February. Why do you maintain that the list going up in February is normal?

MR CORBELL: If I recall correctly, the point I was making in that interview is that it is normal in the February period to see a pick-up in activity from the January period. That is what I was saying.

MR MULCAHY: I ask a supplementary question. Why were so few operations conducted in February?

MR CORBELL: The point I was making in my interview was that there was a significant pick-up in activity in February compared with January. That is simply stated by the figures. The government treats waiting lists as a serious matter. We are spending considerable amounts of money to improve access to elective surgery. Our throughput continues to grow. We continue to see more people getting access to elective surgery because of the government's initiatives. At the same time we continue to see more additions to the lists.

It is a challenge for the government. It is one that we treat seriously. It is one that I have asked my department to work very closely on. We want to make sure that theatre utilisation is good. We want to make sure that day surgery admissions are good. We want to make sure than planning around discharge is good. We want to make sure that our management of elective versus emergency surgery is good. Those are all things that we


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