Page 3047 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022

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ACT Health—elective surgery

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Minister for Health. In question time on Tuesday Minister you confirmed that some elective surgeries will be moved from the public to the private system due to the implementation of DHR. However, during estimates in August you said there were capacity constraints in the private system, leading to reductions, for example, with the elective joint replacement program. Will shifting surgeries into the private system, where there are capacity constraints, mean that other types of surgeries will be reduced this year and if so, which ones.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Castley for the question. I would have to go back and review the Hansard to be sure, but my recollection of the context of the conversation in the estimates hearing was that we were talking about the elective joint replacement program specifically and the fact that some elective joint replacements had been brought forward to last financial year and a lower number are going to be performed in this financial year, but over the two years the same number will be performed. I think the context was probably the capacity constraints were discussed when asked if we could do more elective joint replacements in the private system,. Part of that conversation was around the fact that we were transferring other elective surgeries into the private system to ensure we keep up with our elective surgery commitments while we implement the digital health record. That meant there would be a constraint on the capacity to further increase the number of elective joint replacement surgeries as well as the additional other elective surgeries that we were already planning to move to the private system. It is a whole picture that we are looking at here, Ms Castley. We have a plan that has been put in place by territory-wide surgical services to meet our commitment of 14,800 elective surgeries in this financial year. That is a combination of public: Calvary, Canberra Hospital and—

Ms Castley: I understand the minister has mentioned the elective joint replacement, my question was which other surgeries. Not that there are others, but which, and if she could answer in the next twenty seconds.

MADAM SPEAKER: I think she is answering the question.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I am trying to explain to Ms Castley there are not other elective surgeries that are going to be affected by these capacity constraints. The capacity constraint is created by the fact that we have already scheduled different types of elective surgery into our private provider program.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, can you rule out that patients being moved to the private system for the elective surgeries will wait one day longer for the procedures due to the capacity constraints in the private system? Will it cause further delay?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Madam Speaker, I cannot rule out that someone will have to wait an additional day or period for an individual elective surgery in any system because it may be that the day on which their surgery is scheduled their surgeon is sick, or their anaesthetist is sick or something else happens that means their elective surgery cannot be performed on that particular day. But as I have already explained to Ms Castley, we have a plan working with our valued private provider partners to

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