Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 160..
MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Could the minister please let us know whether or not in fact the operation of the theatres at Canberra Hospital has improved at all, in terms of efficiency, throughput and quality, since 2001 to today?
Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order as to relevance: this is specifically about the issue of the two operating theatres which were opened in September but were not actually conducting operations. This is not a broader question about the conduct of operations in the Canberra Hospital since 2001. It is a very specific question that was asked by Mr Seselja.
Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I was trying to find out whether or not the introduction of two new theatres had made any difference to the efficiency of the service provided at the hospital.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you for the clarification, Mr Hargreaves. There is no point of order.
MS GALLAGHER: The question does go to the extra capacity that has been provided for the elective surgery program, both at Calvary and at Canberra. We have seen enormous growth in demand for elective surgery. We have had to match that with assisting the opening of more theatres. In fact, when we came to government, there were theatres lying there that were not funded to deliver any operations. We have continuously increased the operating theatre capacity since we came to government. Two, from memory, were just lying there, closed, without any funding. Perhaps Mr Hanson's fake concern about these two theatres could be extended to his own colleagues who, over a number of years, sat there and were not the slightest bit concerned about closed operating theatres at Canberra Hospital.
Mr Smyth: We had a far more effective system than you did—far more effective.
MS GALLAGHER: We have continuously opened the 10 theatres that were there that were never opened under you, Mr Smyth. They were never opened; they were closed, with no funding. Those have been opened with full funding. We have extended the hours of operating theatres to allow for the more efficient use of those theatres. We have extended hours; we have opened more theatres. We now have the enhanced operating theatres at Canberra Hospital that are operational and have been since 1 February, once all of the testing for those issues was complete. We are now performing almost 10,000 procedures a day. The throughput has grown considerably, and we are doing it in a more efficient system.
When Mr Smyth was last in government, the health system in the ACT was running at 30 per cent above the national average—at 30 per cent above the national cost for a similar outlay. We have brought that down to 6.6 per cent. So there is one for the number crunchers over there—a 24 per cent improvement in the efficiency of our public hospital system.