Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 955..
MS GALLAGHER: Well, that is three weeks later. No doubt that is of real use to the person concerned. If your concerns are as grave as you alleged they were, three weeks later you are going to put pen to paper and alert me to it-that is useful.
Mrs Dunne: No, when you raised it with me I would put pen to paper.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Dunne!
MS GALLAGHER: I will look into that case because it is very rare in mental health that appropriate care or support is not provided to patients. What you are saying is a slur on the staff. If you are saying that services were not provided to someone who had been triaged and needed them, that is a significant slur on the staff who work within Mental Health ACT. We have increased mental health by 92 per cent. It went from $25 million, I think, when we came to government. It is now at $52 million and a lot of that resourcing has gone into better in-patient services but a lot more community-based support services as well.
This government has committed to trying to achieve 12 per cent of the health budget into mental health by 2012-not 11 per cent as it was in Mr Smyth's media release. And I made that commitment at the ALP conference-not the ACTCOSS conference. But, anyway, apart from those matters, it is 12 per cent by 2012, in order to keep pace with the demand that we are seeing in the mental health area. So try and get us on any matter, but mental health is not one of them. You guys do not have a leg to stand on with that.
In terms of whether I have had the reports for months, again that is incorrect. Mr Smyth put out a media release saying, "What has the minister got to hide? Has ACT Health failed accreditation?"or whatever. It was a question mark media release, full of personal attacks, as usual, but I am getting over that; I rise above them now. I had not got the reports and I was waiting to get the reports together so I could read them. I had been notified that full accreditation had been reached and, yes, I could have put a media release out saying, "Woo hoo, full accreditation has been reached,"but I did not because I was waiting for the full reports to come from the surveyors, which took some further time. I got the mental health one first and then the ones for the hospital and corporate health came after that.
In relation to information for the Assembly, I will have a look at that. I think in the past summary documents may have been released, but I will have a look at that and certainly arrange a briefing for you. My view is that we have got nothing to hide from this. There are recommendations. There are recommendations on mental health that I am following through on, and it is about continuous improvement in the health system. I imagine you will be able to get four or five or six media releases out of it based on the recommendations alone.
But at the end of the day we have full accreditation. There is more work to be done. We are doing that work based on the surveyors' feedback to the government across the whole range of areas. But overall it is positive. Overall there were no immediate recommendations that needed following up. We did meet all of the criteria. In some instances we more than met the criteria and were ranked with extensive achievement, and I think the health system should be acknowledged for it.