Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 1320..
I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.
MS GALLAGHER: I table the second progress report on implementation against recommendations in Auditor-General's report No 1 of 2011, Waiting lists for elective surgery and medical treatment.
The second progress report provides members with details about the considerable work already undertaken within the Health Directorate to improve the administrative management of waiting lists for surgery and medical treatment. The report also notes the considerable improvement in access to elective surgery in the ACT and the reduction in the numbers of people waiting too long for care.
A substantial amount of work and effort has gone into improving access to elective surgery, which is something the Auditor-General's report did not address. It focuses on the management of elective surgery and Health Directorate processes.
The Health Directorate has implemented a number of initiatives to address the recommendations of the report. The report which I am tabling today provides details of those initiatives, including the establishment of consistent forms in relation to access to elective surgery across both public hospitals; regular auditing of booking and listing practices to ensure that ACT policies are followed at both hospitals; increased accountability for processes through oversight of local audit reports by the Surgical Services Task Force; implementation of a set of new standard operating procedures and associated manuals to guide staff in the listing and management of patients on waiting lists; improved management of leave arrangements for surgeons to minimise delays for patients; and the establishment of a steering committee to identify issues with access to outpatient services and to direct projects to fix those issues.
The Surgical Services Task Force is provided with regular reports on progress against Auditor-General recommendations, which provides oversight but extends beyond the managers responsible for the management of elective surgery. However, as I noted previously, I was disappointed that the Auditor-General's report failed to give enough significance to the considerable improvements that were already in place in 2011 to improve access to elective surgery as well as the initiatives that were already in the pipeline at the time of her report. Those initiatives include ways of increasing access to elective surgery by adding capacity to the public hospital system and through arrangements with the private sector.
During the 2010-11 financial year, the year in which the audit was conducted, our hospitals were undertaking record levels of elective surgery operations. Over 2010-11 we provided 11,336 elective surgery operations, over 1,500 more than the previous year. The number of people waiting longer than recommended waiting times fell by 37 per cent over that financial year and the proportion of total patients admitted on time increased from 65 per cent in 2009-10 to almost 72 for the first half of 2011-12.
While the overwhelming number of elective surgery procedures continues to be undertaken within our public hospitals, we have established partnerships with private