Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (16 March) . . Page.. 868..
MS GALLAGHER: I am surprised that the shadow minister for health has to ask me about how arrangements are put in place for access to elective surgery. The hospital does not put people on waiting lists; the doctors put people on waiting lists. I will not go to the individual case, but if a person gets a referral from a GP to a specialist, they see that specialist and that specialist says, "I need to put you on the elective surgery list in the public system,"that person goes on that list. That is the way it operates. The hospital does not do it. We do not choose the longest list to put people on. They are arrangements that are put in place between the patient and the doctor. The best that we have been able to do in dealing with this issue—and the issue actually goes to the pooling of lists—
Opposition members interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: The issue goes to the pooling of lists. Mr Hanson just blindly goes through the Health portfolio thinking that everything is black and white and easy to introduce. The issue of pooling of lists has been a very contentious issue in this territory for a number of years.
Mr Hanson: Is this another one you can't get done?
MS GALLAGHER: I cannot introduce pooling without the support of the surgeons. If I was to introduce pooling without the support of the surgeons, our elective surgery work, and indeed our emergency surgery work, would stop. Everything is so easy for the opposition because they do not have to consider the implications of taking unilateral action without the support of the major stakeholders within it.
I have discussed pooling with surgeons a number of times over the years. At the moment, those surgeons do not support pooling. I do not know, Mr Hanson, if you have had any discussions with anyone about pooling. I know you seem to think it is very easy, but think of the ramifications if we were to introduce something without the support of the major stakeholder in that decision. It would be catastrophic. The best thing that we can do in the meantime is to publish the surgeons' lists on the website and alert people to that. Everybody can go to the ACT Health—
Mr Seselja: It's always somebody else's fault.
MS GALLAGHER: No, it is not. I am not saying that. Everyone can go to the ACT Health website and see the waiting times for surgeons in particular categories. We as the public health provider cannot promote one doctor ahead of another. What we have done is publish their waiting times online. Patients are informed of that.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, before you ask your question I would just remind members of the opposition that I made it very clear during the last sitting period that constant hectoring during the minister's answers is not an acceptable conduct of question time. Some level of intervention is obviously part of the practice here, but not constant hectoring.
MR HANSON: Minister, like the Chief Minister, do you believe Lachlan's parents should simply stop whingeing about the long wait they are facing?