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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 4177 ..


Canberra Hospital—emergency waiting times

MISS C BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. On 15 August 2017 you said in response to a question from Mr Coe on emergency department waiting times:

I am regularly briefed by Canberra Hospital and by ACT Health on the performance of the emergency department. There is internal information directly sourced from the emergency department on a daily basis, and I am pleased to say the broad trend is that emergency department waiting times are coming down.

The annual report for 2017-18 shows that this was not the case. Will you table within three sitting days the briefs that you received from the Canberra Hospital and ACT Health in July and August 2017 about emergency department waiting times?

MS FITZHARRIS: In response to the question, on 15 August 2017—I would note that that is some five to six weeks into the beginning of the 2017-18 financial year—I do not think I could possibly have known at that point, in August 2017, six weeks into not only the 2017-18 financial year but certainly, as has been discussed—

Mr Coe: You said "with confidence". There was a trend.

MS FITZHARRIS: Six weeks into a financial year you cannot predict the trend for that coming year.

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, please! You asked the question. Allow the answer.

MS FITZHARRIS: What we do know about last year and last year's flu season, which peaked in those months, was that it was one of the worst flu seasons on record and I stated six weeks into that financial year "pending all things being equal ... ". But all things were not equal. All things were not equal as that flu season unfolded. The worst flu season in years right across the country did impact, as is reflected in the annual report for this year.

MISS C BURCH: Minister, will you table within three sitting days any other information you received from the Canberra Hospital and ACT Health in July and August 2017 about emergency department waiting times?

MS FITZHARRIS: I will take that on notice.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, why are you not prepared to produce the documents that you claim show that the emergency department waiting times were coming down in August 2017?

MS FITZHARRIS: I did not say that.


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