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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 530..


MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for Disability and Community Services relates to her responsibility for aged care. The Australian newspaper reported on 8 March 2007 that the left faction of the Australian Labor Party is pressing for superannuation payouts to once again be taxed. Minister, has your department done any analysis on what the impact of this change would be on the ACT's senior citizens and, if so, what will that impact be?

MS GALLAGHER: No, not that I am aware of.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, are you bound in your ministerial responsibility for senior citizens of the ACT by decisions made at ALP conferences?


Mental health

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health and concerns accreditation of ACT mental health services. Minister, given that the external review of health services conducted by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards is one of the most valuable quality improvement and accountability mechanisms for any health system, would you please inform the Assembly on the results of the recent ACHS external review of ACT mental health services?

MS GALLAGHER: This is good news for ACT Health, and for Mental Health ACT in particular. As members would be aware, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards currently reviews health services against a set of standards to identify areas for continuous improvement. There are five areas assessed: continuum of care, which examines clinical care and systems; leadership and management; information management; human resource management; and safe practice and environment. There are 43 assessment criteria, of which 19 are mandatory.

As a member of the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, Mental Health ACT underwent an alignment survey for the first time as a separate entity in August 2006. Prior to that, ACT mental health services had been included in the accreditation process as part of the Canberra Hospital. This accreditation process is important to ensure that mental health services are provided within a quality framework that is continuously monitored and reviewed for the safety and assurance of mental health consumers and carers.

I am pleased to report to the Assembly that Mental Health ACT recently achieved full accreditation, following an accreditation alignment survey in August last year. That was an outstanding achievement. I take this opportunity to congratulate the management and staff of Mental Health ACT on their work and commitment that led to that result.

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