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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3184..


Dr Foskey (continuing):

value, what lasts, which is good fish, which is sustainable fish. So the people will actually have this opportunity, rather than just going to the nearest supermarket which they can get to where the food is not cheap, where it often is not fresh, where it will be prepared and which will make their food bills higher. We have to think of an integrated way, but public transport is at the basis of overcoming disadvantage in west Belconnen.

Pink Ribbon Day

Health—oral and maxillofacial surgery

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.49): Firstly, I would just like to remind people to support the activities of Pink Ribbon Day when and where they can. I think that is most important. Some great advancements are being made in the area of breast cancer and it is a very worthwhile cause to support.

As Mr Stanhope rightly anticipated, I am here again in this place tonight to put on the public record some very serious matters relating to oral and maxillofacial surgery. Unlike Mr Stanhope and other health ministers, current and past, I will not give up on this matter until I see the issues I have raised fully addressed. I understand on very good authority—very good authority—that at least one surgeon approached ACT Health after being left totally frustrated, after 18 months, with the dire situation of the less than optimal outcomes for oral and maxillofacial surgery on numerous people.

The surgeons, I understand, spoke to Mark Cormack, CEO of ACT Health who, I am told, was under extreme pressure in regard to this matter, telling the surgeons there was a threat that another surgeon would walk off the job if oral and maxillofacial surgeons were approved to conduct surgery at the Canberra Hospital. He admitted at the time that his head was on the chopping block in regard to this matter.

Hiding behind public servants has been developed to the point of an art form by this government, very sadly, which never accepts responsibility. Public servants have to do the bidding of their political masters. The buck stops with the health minister and with the Stanhope government. How many more lives are going to be sadly affected by having botched surgery done or having misdiagnoses that made recovery a lot more complex?

To focus your minds on the needless suffering of patients who had no idea they were not receiving treatment from oral surgeons, I will give you some details of another couple of cases. A man who was involved in an accident during a bicycle race was brought to casualty at the Canberra Hospital with a broken and very painful jaw. He said the treatment he received at casualty—this was in 2001—was of the highest standard. He was then referred to the plastics clinic where his jaw, so swollen by this time that he looked like the elephant man, was examined clumsily by a doctor who then looked at the X-ray and informed him the jaw would heal by itself. With the pain continuing severe, the man made an appointment to see an oral surgeon privately. His jaw had to be reset because otherwise it would not have set correctly and the bite would have been incorrect and could have caused future complications. After this operation the pain in the jaw disappeared almost entirely, according to the patient. The patient says that what happened to him at the Canberra Hospital, the misdiagnosis, should not be allowed to happen to others.


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