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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . .

Page.. 511..

are gaps in certain specialities such as ear, nose and throat surgery. We have extended operating theatre hours. We have made more sessions available to surgeons on weekends.

The government has appointed an experienced nurse from territory-wide surgical services who is acting as the program manager. We are increasing the auditing of the waiting list to make sure it is accurate and up to date and we are identifying and procuring additional equipment needed as part of the funding boost.

As a result, we have seen 444 more people get the surgery they need out of that 1,200 people waiting longer than clinically indicated. We are well and truly remaining on track to complete 1,000 surgeries for this category of long-wait patient by the middle of this year.

This is a very, very important outcome. It means more people getting the surgery they need. It means fewer people waiting longer than clinically indicated and it is part of my commitment, as health minister, to improve access to timely care and to make sure that people get the care when they need it in the time frames that they should receive it.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: Minister, can you please outline how the government processes and partnerships have been playing and will continue to play a role in addressing elective surgery waiting lists?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for her supplementary. Yes, it is the case that there are a broad range of government processes and partnerships that have been put in place to make sure that this is not just a one-off and that we are not going to see growth occur again in the list. Instead it is about fundamental reforms to the way we manage and deliver surgery, in the way we manage the waiting list, to make sure that people get timely access to the care they need.

For example, we are working closely with both Calvary public and the Canberra Hospital. We are ensuring greater alignment so that unallocated theatre sessions are now allocated wherever possible to provide additional surgery services across both hospitals. We are making sure that we also engage our private hospital capacity much better, because we have a health system in the city as a whole, public and private. The private system has capacity as well. It should all be being utilised to improve access to care for Canberrans.

I am grateful for the support, for example, of hospitals like Calvary John James, which are already performing public surgeries on behalf of ACT Health. That is a great outcome. We are seeing considerable throughput at Calvary John James. Those doctors and surgeons are delivering those surgeries at Medicare rates. So it is the same cost as it would be for performing the surgery in the public hospitals, but it is being delivered in that private hospital. That means we are able to see more people get the surgery they need.

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