Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 8 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 2536..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
It's too expensive."But Mr Smyth says, "I want to spent $110 million more."This is ongoing. Only today on radio Mr Smyth said, "I want 100 beds straight away."Then the ABC presenter said, "That's a bit unrealistic, isn't it, Mr Smyth?"So he said, "I'll open 70 beds straight away."Immediately he changed his mind. First it was 100; then it was 70.
What Mr Smyth did not say is that 70 extra beds means an additional 100 trained clinicians and support staff. I would love to know where he going to find them-100 trained clinicians and support staff, a 25 per cent increase in the capacity at TCH. Mr Mulcahy is saying, "We are spending too much."Mr Smyth wants to pay for a 25 per cent increase in capacity at Canberra Hospital and Mr Mulcahy says, "You're spending too much. Stop spending so much."This is the policy contradiction that we have from the Liberal Party.
Mr Stanhope: What did the electorate think of this?
Mr Stefaniak: You're not running the health system very well. It is fairly obvious, Jon, I would imagine.
Mr Stanhope: This was last October, was it, Bill? What did they say last October, Bill?
Mr Quinlan: Vote like your life depends on it.
Mr Stanhope: Vote like your life depends on it, and they did. And they will again.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Chief Minister!
MS MacDONALD: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, would you also please outline to the Assembly some of the other issues highlighted in The state of our public hospitals report to demonstrate the increased demand in the ACT health system?
MR CORBELL: Again, I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. It is useful, I think, to highlight the pressures that our system is facing. Of course, all systems are facing pressures, but it is well worth highlighting the particular elements that are of concern to the ACT.
The first is that it is worth noting that the Canberra Hospital is, according to this report, the 15th busiest hospital in Australia. So it is an extremely busy hospital and one that is coping with a range of demands. There are some particular demands that are quite significant. For example, we had 28 patients admitted to hospital for elective surgery per 1,000 weighted head of population, which is higher than the national average. Earlier this morning in debate the shadow minister said, "We are a healthy population. We have less need for people to go to our hospitals and we are not doing very well."Well, the figures do not back that up. You only have to look at this figure to see that. We have 28 patients per 1,000 head of population admitted for elective surgery, and that is higher than the national average. We have higher than national average demand for elective surgery.
We also have higher levels of demand in terms of emergency departments. For example, we have 309 presentations per 1,000 people to emergency departments. That is 50 per cent higher than the national average. The national average for presentations to