Page 771 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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(3) calls on the ACT Government to continue supporting investments in
public endoscopy services to grow a sustainable Territory-wide service that meets demand.”.

They have had 17 years, because that is when the Bowel Cancer Screening Program rollout happened, and we are still in a mess, with many thousands of Canberrans waiting!

Let us revisit some of the information that the experts have shared: the waitlist has become catastrophic; long waitlists do pose a high risk; and the government had legitimate solutions to the endoscopy waitlist problem but it tossed them aside in favour of leaving people languishing. The AMA said 6,021 overdue patients poses a high risk. They have had patients travelling to Wagga or taking out a loan to ensure they can have the private scope as quickly as possible. Bowel Cancer Australia says that delayed diagnosis leads to delayed treatment; delayed treatment leads to poor outcomes and unnecessary deaths. These are not my words; these are the words of the experts.

Gastroenterologists have said they were calling for more facilities 14 years ago, in 2009. They have said that facilities have to double to keep up with demand, but we read that this new facility is not scheduled for completion until 2026. All in all, 17 years since the warning, we might have adequate facilities. I wonder whether the government have considered how large Canberra will be then and what the list will look like. The government have underspent on infrastructure, despite money being budgeted, but they are happy to do a rebrand.

Can we really believe the statement that Labor made on 15 October 2020 that referred to Labor’s plan for “better health care—where and when Canberrans need it”? They say that Canberrans rely on our health system to be there when they need it, and that ACT Labor is committed to investing in a system that delivers better health care closer to home. Well, better health care closer to home, unless you are a woman, of course, because we heard last week that gynaecological cancer does not get a guernsey. The Barr-Rattenbury government believes that it is totally acceptable to travel to Sydney for treatment. But I digress. That was last week’s story.

We know that people who can afford to pay are choosing to fund their own surgeries or go out of town, but what about the thousands who cannot afford it? They are having to wait. This is not the health care “when Canberrans need it”. It takes 6½ years to get the required procedure that some people need. This is not health care where and when Canberrans need it.

This Barr-Rattenbury government is all talk and no action, and I commend my motion to the Assembly.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

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