Page 2839 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022

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There is a lot of work to be done. We did not ever say that we would solve this issue quickly. I am absolutely committed to working with the sector and to working with the human services sector more generally. We will need to continue to invest in more resources, but we also need to work with the sector on how we design the services that we provide. We are absolutely working on that issue. I just do not accept the premise of failure in this area. We need to continue to work on this. There are a whole range of issues that come to the fore when we are dealing with this. We are not resiling from those issues. We are working with the sector and the community about resolving them.

ACT Health—elective surgery

MS CASTLEY: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. During estimates it was revealed that the elective joint replacement program had completed almost 500 surgeries last year, but the government is cutting this capacity to about 340 procedures, due to the digital health record rollout. What other surgeries or programs is the government reducing due to the DHR rollout?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Castley for the question. I can assure members, including Ms Castley, that we have a plan to deliver on our elective surgery target this year. We have planned—and we have been very, very clear about that—that there will be some movement of elective surgeries from the public system to our private partners, and that there will be some shifting around of our elective surgery program to accommodate the training that is required to rollout and go live with the digital health record, which is a very significant change in delivering a single electronic health record across our entire ACT public health system.

Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital, Calvary Public Hospital, Clare Holland House, QEII, and all of our community based services are going live with our new digital health record at the same time, on 12 November. So it is a big task to get all of those workers trained, and we will be moving elective surgeries around. It is not accurate to draw the comparison between the orthopaedics—the joint replacement surgeries and the elective joint replacement program—and this wider program.

Ms Castley: Point of order, Madam Speaker. I asked specifically what surgeries would be moving, not which hospitals are getting DHR. It was not about DHR; it was about which elective surgeries, specifically.

MADAM SPEAKER: The minister is within order. She is referring to meeting targets of the scheduled waiting list—

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I think, what I was going to—sorry, I did not mean to interrupt you, Madam Speaker—is that the premise of the question is incorrect in the sense that in order to achieve our two-year target for elective joint replacement, and, indeed, to exceed our original target of 800 elective joint replacements over this two-year period, some elective joint replacements were brought forward into the 2021-22 financial year. Fewer are going to be delivered in the 2022-23 year, but over that two-year period my recollection is that 832 elective joint replacement surgeries will be— (Time expired.)

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