Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2679..
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.17), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to the debate. I am not surprised that the Greens will not be supporting this motion, but I think that they should, based on the evidence.
The first part of the motion talks about the mismanagement of the health system and I think the evidence is compelling. Despite the spin that Mr Stanhope tries to put on it, when you actually look at the results that are being achieved in the ACT in a comparative sense with the rest of Australia, it is quite clear that we are falling way behind.
In elective surgery our results are twice as bad—we wait twice as long—as the rest of the nation. As I have said before, we have the lowest number or the second lowest number of GPs per capita. Bulk-billing is at the lowest rate in the nation. Our hospitals are inefficient and that is demonstrated in the latest AIHW report. There are real concerns about bullying across ACT Health but, we know, specifically in obstetrics; there is the 10-year war in obstetrics. There are problems in our emergency departments, particularly with waiting times in certain categories.
We have had the debacle of the Calvary proposal, the mismanagement of that proposal by Katy Gallagher. We have seen problems in cancer services and people not able to access them. There has been a breakdown in communications on a whole range of issues, particularly very sensitive fatalities. Because Jon Stanhope wanted to go to the bar rather than negotiate fully on the health and hospital reforms, we gave up 50 per cent of our GST, against the national average of 30 per cent—and we find out that WA are getting an equivalent amount of money but without giving up a cent of GST. Public hospital beds are amongst the lowest per capita in Australia.
We have seen neglect of mental health and preventative health, and ongoing neglect of those in this year's budget. We have seen failure in infrastructure for a number of years—and on and on. So, if anyone in this community or in this chamber believes that there has not been gross mismanagement of the health system, it is difficult for them to mount an argument for that case.
In terms of elective surgery specifically, people are waiting longer in the ACT for elective surgery. The median wait time figure has deteriorated from 72, which was double the worst in the country, to now 75. It has got worse; it is going backwards. The majority of people at the 90th percentile will now wait 158 days longer than the national average, significantly longer than anywhere else, significantly longer indeed than in New South Wales. The number of patients waiting over 12 months for surgery is now 848; just recently it was only 600. It is getting worse under this minister. Now, 15 per cent of our elective surgery list are people waiting over a year. The minister has been saying that she is tackling that element of the list. But it is getting worse.
What the minister has been saying, and Mr Seselja read from some press releases, is that 95 per cent of urgent patients are seen on time. So, when the myriad bad results have come out, she and the Chief Minister have come out and said, "Well, it is okay because urgent patients are seen on time."But what we are seeing is that is quite potentially not the case. What is happening is that lists are being changed; urgent