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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3253..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

work and how it is to be reintegrated. There has been no confirmed case of any adverse patient outcome yet. We need to allow those processes to continue, and we need to work on how we reintegrate a full OMFS capacity at the Canberra Hospital, which is what we were all doing before Mrs Burke stuck her nose in this.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my supplementary to the minister is this: minister, regardless of your version of ancient history, why has it taken your government so long—six years, in fact—to commence an advertising campaign to seek suitably qualified oral facial surgeons to the Canberra Hospital?

Mr Stanhope: I think that was just answered.

Mr Pratt: No, it wasn't. Not why has it taken so damn long, Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, sit down.

MS GALLAGHER: I have answered the question, Mr Speaker. The advertisement for an OFMS surgeon has been advertised widely. Contrary to what is said by those opposite, it was in train before publicity surrounding OFMS hit the press. It is part of the government's response to resolving this matter. We did have up to that point a way forward and an agreement around reintegrating the service. The advertisement is in the paper.

I understand Mr Stefaniak and Mrs Burke have questioned whether or not we actually have to advertise for this service, but, in accordance with the way appointments are made to the Canberra Hospital, that is a requirement. It is a lot of money, and it is proper that a full, public advertising process is undertaken, and that anyone interested in those jobs can apply and we can sort through applicants as you would for any other public sector job.

Hospitals—medical equipment and supplies

MS MacDONALD: My question is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, can you please tell the Assembly if there has been any outcome on Mrs Burke's referral to the Auditor-General for an urgent performance audit into the availability and adequacy of medical equipment and supplies in ACT public hospitals?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms McDonald for the question. Members will recall that earlier this year Mrs Burke placed on notice a question around equipment and medical consumables at our public hospitals and she also made a number of public statements about hospitals running out of supplies, I think during August this year, saying that the hospital system was struggling to provide basic supplies such as dressings and intravenous tubing. I think it went on to say that we did not have enough supplies; that we were running a Third World hospital system here; that Calvary and TCH were trying to obtain basic supplies for patients. There was a range of public statements made and I answered the question on notice with quite a comprehensive answer. Unfortunately, Mrs Burke did not accept that answer as satisfactory and wrote to the Auditor-General requesting that she conduct an urgent performance audit into the availability and adequacy of medical equipment and supplies in ACT public hospitals.


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