Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1327..
MS BURCH (continuing):
I note the minister has announced that the government is looking comprehensively at GP services within Canberra, and I commend that activity. Finally, I move the following amendment to Mr Hanson's motion that has been circulated in my name:
Omit all words after "That this Assembly", substitute:
"(1) recognises that:
(a) the ACT has the second lowest number of GPs per capita in Australia;
(b) GP clinics across the Territory continue to close; and
(c) the number of aged and ageing in the community in need of access to GPs for ongoing primary health care is increasing;
(2) refers to the Standing Committee on Health, Community and Social Services to conduct an inquiry into access to primary care services and that this inquiry may include:
(a) role of nurse practitioners in providing primary health care;
(b) role of allied health assistants in providing primary health care;
(c) GP clinic closures since 2001;
(d) the current level of GP shortages in the ACT and the reasons pertaining to this shortage;
(e) how to arrest, and reverse, the decline in GP numbers in the short and longer term;
(f) strategies to attract and retain GPs in suburban clinics; and
(g) linkages between Government and NGO providers; and
(3) calls on the ACT Government to:
(a) seek to include the issue of funding for GPs on the agenda for the Australian Health Ministers Conference and its Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council; and
(b) report to the Assembly by 17 September 2009.".
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (4.17): Speaking to the amendment, I will discuss some of the points made by Ms Burch. There was a lot of discussion about hospital beds; the issue that we are discussing here is primary health care—GPs. I dispute some of the stuff she was saying, but I want to make sure that she does focus on the issue at hand. She also referred to the issue of elective surgery and to what this government is doing. This government currently is running the worst rates of elective surgery category 2 in the country, so I am not sure that claiming credit for elective surgery rates is something that supports her argument.