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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (5 August) . .

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MS GALLAGHER: There have been a number of changes to date to improve systems. All administrative staff have been combined under one management model to provide overall leadership and management of all the referrals. This is being managed and led by a senior medical specialist. The number of patients with a referral and waiting for clinical triage for June—and I can tell you in terms of how that process is working—is 46, which is a decrease of 552 patients since May 2014. So we have seen a massive reduction just from implementing that change.

Changes have also been introduced to improve processes for acceptance and registration of referrals, and a focus on increasing consultants' utilisation of IT systems to triage has been undertaken in an effort to improve referral processing. There are a number of other changes which I can also outline, but this was a piece of work that was started, I think, just prior to the Auditor-General's report and certainly the audit process has aligned with the work that has been done by management to improve some of the issues that were identified and that staff were raising concerns about.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, what is the impact on an individual's health as a result of the failures identified in the Auditor-General's report?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, I would go back to the quote from the independent expert that was commissioned to review the triaging and outcomes of the selection of patients—it was a selection, but that is in line with most audit processes—that the triage category was appropriate in the vast majority of cases and that patients were managed appropriately and in a timely manner.

Obviously I do not want to dismiss the fact that some of the delays for having referrals processed and appointments made are not distressing on individual people; they are. I think one of the really difficult areas in health is the management of the demand for outpatient services, which just continues to escalate. We are having to manage that through triaging processes. But you would hope, through that triaging process, that for those people that were the most urgent and needed to be seen in the most timely way, from a clinician's point of view, that that was being managed through the changes that we have introduced over the last few months to improve that for patients.


MADAM SPEAKER: Before I proceed I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of members of staff from the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate. Welcome to your Assembly.

Questions without notice

Health—antenatal visits

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. On the 31 July the National Health Performance Authority published its report Healthy communities: child and

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