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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 6101..

Canberra Stadium and Manuka Oval became smoke free on 23 February 2008, when both venues became smoke free within their built structures, such as stands, the concourses, walkways, thoroughfares and entrances. The tobacco amendment act came into partial effect on 28 February 2009, which was around retailers not being able to offer or provide a reward to customers when they purchase tobacco products. Petrol discounts are also captured by this prohibition. It has had a long and proud history in this place, and I could go on. (Time expired.)

Canberra Hospital—emergency department

MR SMYTH: My question is also to the Minister for Health. Minister, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on hospital statistics 2009-10 shows that ACT residents experienced the second-longest median emergency department waiting times in the country. Minister, why are ACT residents waiting longer, under your leadership, for emergency department care?

MS GALLAGHER: I think we have had this discussion in this place a number of times. I do think it is interesting, and I think it is acknowledged in the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report around the size of the ACT and the number of emergency departments that we have here, that, if you go and look at the WA emergency department data, where they actually report between metro and regional WA, you will find that the metro areas have waiting times which are in many cases worse than the ACT's; the same if you look at the metro waiting times in other jurisdictions.

The difficulty for the ACT is that we have no quiet hospitals, small regional hospitals, country hospitals, which run emergency departments but do not often see large numbers of presentations and do not experience any wait, if at all. I think that does need to be part of the perspective. If you measured like with like, which is, if you measured—

Mr Smyth: So a hospital for Tharwa; is that your solution?

MS GALLAGHER: No. That is not what I am saying. I am trying actually to put some perspective into the discussion, which is, if you measure like with like, if you measure tertiary referral hospitals, large metropolitan hospitals, which are the two that we have, you will see that our emergency department times are comparable and in many cases better.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I would like to say that the work that has gone on in the emergency department over the last three or four years particularly has been extraordinary in terms of additional beds, new ways of doing things, staff coming up with ideas about how to get the throughput through, the additional beds in the hospital—and all of this despite a very, very significant increase in demand.

Mr Smyth: There are always increases.

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