Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 6 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2091..
MS GALLAGHER: Well, there is not a way where you can compare apples with apples on waiting lists. What I am making sure of is that the community has access to a very comprehensive range of information where our waiting list is now the lowest it has been for many years—4,400 on the waiting list. We are delivering 1,000 more procedures this year than we delivered the year before and next year we will increase on that. We are significantly reducing the number of long wait patients off the list in a whole range of areas such as general surgery, urology, neurosurgery and gynaecology.
All of those indicators are going in the right way but there is no way of measuring the ACT against New South Wales, Queensland or Victoria. I think this piece of work is being done under national health reform and it is very clear that there is no standardised way of measuring elective surgery performance.
Whilst all of our indications are going the right way, our median wait time will continue to grow. So the target to focus on for how good your elective surgery system is performing needs to be how many people are having their surgery on time—that is, if you are category 1, what is the percentage of people who are getting access to it within 30 days, category 2 within 90 days and category 3 within 365 days. That is the target we will be measured against.
MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. In the interest of those opposite, minister, what are the waiting times for gall bladder and bile duct transplants?
MS GALLAGHER: I will have to take that on notice, Mr Speaker. It is a very specialised question. But I understand the link that Mr Hargreaves is making, and I did enjoy it.
MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, why is it that after 10 years of ACT Labor and your claims of removing long-wait patients from the lists, we have five times the national average of people waiting for more than a year for their elective surgery?
MS GALLAGHER: Because while you are dealing with the emergency surgery and other more urgent patients, and demand continues to grow whilst you are removing long-wait patients from the list, you are also generating long-wait patients at the same time. The government has no control over additions to the list. The only thing we control is removals from the list. We have a very good record here, and that record is going to get better. We have seen significant improvements. As much as those opposite do not want to hear that things are improving and people are getting access to their surgery in a timely fashion—