Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 5196..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
care service, there would be no reduction in the level of public service provided. Indeed, as the government has the contract and the specifications within that contract, we have the ability to ensure that the care provided is in line with current arrangements.
The society also felt that a single owner-provider might limit competition in the area of palliative care delivery in the ACT. Whilst this is an issue that has been raised, it is an issue that existed prior to the discussion around the ownership of Clare Holland House. Indeed, whilst there will be some growth in public palliative care services in the ACT, the expectation is that it will not grow in line with other health growth we are seeing in the acute sector. And, of course, there are other providers of palliative care, particularly through GPs, some non-government organisations and carers themselves.
The society also sought assurance that the sale site will be restricted to use as a hospice only-indeed, a public hospice. That is something that the government had agreed to and that can be dealt with in terms of the lease that would be provided. The society also sought reassurance that their funding through ACT Health would continue to be provided separately, and the government gave the Palliative Care Society that commitment.
The society sought a five-year service funding agreement-to extend the standard three-year funding agreement. This is something that the government are keen to look at, and again we agreed in principle that we could extend the contract arrangement with the Palliative Care Society in line with what they sought.
The society were also concerned that admission to the hospice may not continue to be on an equitable basis. Again, as the contract is 100 per cent funded by the government and the specifications of that contract would be clear, the government would ensure that there would be no change to any admission protocol in Clare Holland House. Indeed, I would be very surprised; it would go against the philosophy of the Little Company of Mary themselves to have inequitable admission criteria to Clare Holland House.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?
MS PORTER: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are there any other issues around the proposal to transfer Clare Holland House to the Little Company of Mary that have been raised in the community?
MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Ms Porter, for the supplementary question. The society was worried that a decision might already have been made to sell the hospice. Indeed, I have given an assurance to the Little Company of Mary that, while there is a proposal out for consultation, the cabinet would consider the feedback received from the consultation and if we did take a decision to proceed with the proposal an appropriation bill would be introduced into the Legislative Assembly for debate. The issue they raised with us was that it would happen without coming to the Assembly. I certainly addressed that concern for them.