Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (27 September) . . Page.. 2774..
Statement by Speaker
MR SPEAKER: I wish to advise members that following a breach of the broadcasting guidelines made pursuant to the Legislative Assembly (Broadcasting) Act 2001, I have decided to take action to suspend the Assembly passes of the Canberra Times staff for a period of a week, commencing today, as well as the photographing of Assembly proceedings in the next sitting period in October.
I have not taken this decision lightly, but I think it is important that the guidelines that have been endorsed by the Assembly are adhered to. I have written to members, the Editor of the Canberra Times and the Assembly reporter explaining my decision.
Questions without notice
Canberra Hospital—emergency department
MRS BURKE: My question is to the Acting Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. Minister, my question relates to the annual report from the Health Services Commissioner. Minister, the commissioner reports on cases of people being misdiagnosed when they have attended the emergency department of the Canberra Hospital. In 2005-06, when in fact you were Minister for Health, you initiated what was described as a "comprehensive access improvement program". This latest annual report from the Health Services Commissioner reveals that problems continue. Minister, what are you and your ministerial colleagues doing to resolve the continuing issues with the management of the emergency departments at the ACT's public hospitals?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Burke for the question. Mr Speaker, this government has made major investments into improving the resourcing and the capability of our emergency departments in our public hospitals. The public hospital system experiences and continues to experience high growth and demand for its services. In 2006-07, of course, our public hospitals managed over 73,500 admitted patient cost-weighted separations, representing growth of about six per cent on the previous year. This growth has continued in a similar magnitude in each year that Labor has been in office.
Mr Speaker, the government have responded to the increased demand in our health care systems by providing an additional $320 million since we came to office. In addition to that, of course, we have seen a record number of inpatients cared for. In fact, the ACT's emergency department has seen over 96,000 recorded presentations in the last financial year, 2006-07. So we are seeing record demand and record levels of investment to try and address that demand.
Of course, Mr Speaker, we have had to make up for the very dire position that hospitals had been left in under the previous administration. The previous administration saw 109 beds removed from the public hospital system. During the time of the Liberal government there was a 14 per cent decrease in public hospital beds. So we had to make up that deficit and add to that level of supply. We have, indeed, done that and done that well.