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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1308..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

More people were removed from the list than ever before and that was directly because of this government's investment in elective surgery. We have provided an additional $22 million into elective surgery, which has delivered 4,500 more procedures that would not have been funded had that investment not occurred. An objective of this additional investment was to ensure that those waiting beyond the standard time frames of care would get access to care whilst ensuring at the same time that those who had urgent need for care were also seen. So we have targeted those people who were very long-wait patients, who were waiting longer than one year, perhaps between one and two years, and in some cases longer; 269 people waiting longer than two years for surgery have been removed from the list. The measure is taken when they are admitted for surgery. It is not looking at the list; it is looking at the time from when they joined the list to when they were admitted to surgery. So it makes sense that when you are removing large groups of people who have had long waits that will blow out the median waiting time, and that has been seen.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: It does! I can keep talking; I can keep saying it: that is what happens. We are removing people whose wait has been 700 days. We are focusing on those people as opposed to those who have been waiting for three months. Of course there is a one-year impact; when you are removing those surgeries, that will have impact on your median waiting times. That is the story. I cannot see what your problem is in understanding that. It seems pretty clear to everyone else.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary. Minister, for our benefit can you explain what the "median waiting time"means?

MS GALLAGHER: It is the length of time from when you join the list to when you are removed and when all the removals are put together—

Mr Smyth: No, no. It's the midpoint.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Smyth.

MS GALLAGHER: I have answered this question. I do not understand the confusion about the fact that in one year we have targeted long-wait patients off the list. We have delivered more patients than ever in that category off the list. Hopefully that has had a one-off effect in extending that measure in that performance indicator. Unless you can stand up and tell me that I am wrong, I will stand by what I have said in all of the answers I have given around this.

Fireworks—safety

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. With the Queen's birthday long weekend fast approaching, can you please advise the Assembly on the steps the government is taking to ensure that Canberrans are aware of how to safely enjoy fireworks night?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. Yes, the Queen's birthday


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