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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 953..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

shocking neglect that was reflected in the Gallop inquiry and which was the legacy of Michael Moore and the Liberals.

In just those two areas on which the shadow minister today stands, berates us, beats his breast and claims some moral ascendancy we have increased expenditure on disability services by 69 per cent and on mental health by 92 per cent to fill the gaping holes in service delivery, the neglect and the disinterest of Mr Smyth and his colleagues in government. So anybody that listens to Mr Smyth or any Liberal in this place berating this government, particularly on issues around mental health and disability services, just needs to pause and reflect on what they will get if this mob ever get back into government.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (4.15): I remind the Chief Minister that the previous Liberal government inherited a deficit of $344.8 million and that for the first three years we had to put some additional money into health despite the fact that we were really strapped for cash.

I recall the state of the hospital system then and I recall very few issues arising during the stewardship of then health minister Kate Carnell. I also remind you of some of the rather innovative moves taken to assist the health system by Michael Moore, the Independent health minister. I remind you too of your own comments in 2001 about very little movement in terms of some of the lists there, as if that was a criticism, when these days there are huge problems-huge problems indeed. Just take A&E: until about 2002-03 the average wait was about two hours. Now the average wait is about eight hours.

I have referred in recent times to a number of other issues in the health system-like an 85-year-old woman who went in with a broken arm on Good Friday and could not be attended to until, I think, the Tuesday. Those are regular occurrences in our health system. And it is not that the nurses and the doctors and the staff there do not work hard. My wife recently was there with a broken wrist and the staff did an excellent job. But there are some real problems in the system-real problems that we simply did not have even four or five years ago but that we do have now.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.17): I note that the minister has spoken about the achievements of accreditation in the ACT hospital system and the Chief Minister stood up and said, "We have spent so much money on mental health"and how much more money he has spent on mental health than was spent under the previous government. You might be able to say, "Yes, we have spent a lot of money"and you might be able to demonstrate that it is the case that you have spent more money, but the question that I am constantly confronted with when I deal with constituents who have mental health issues and an association with the mental health services is: are we getting value for money?

Here in the minister's report today she lists the group of organisations within ACT Health, including mental health, that met the mandatory accreditation criteria to the minimum level. I am not an expert in hospital accreditation, and it may be good that mental health have met all of the criteria to the mandatory minimum level, but I will ask the minister why a constituent of mine, who about three weeks ago presented himself to accident and emergency at one of Canberra's hospitals in great distress and


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