Page 5765 - Week 18 - Tuesday, 10 December 1991

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Elective Surgery

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Can the Minister confirm to the house that there will be no regular elective surgery at Woden Valley Hospital between 20 December this year and 28 January next year?

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, Mr Humphries would well know that in the Christmas period there is a general slowdown in the provision of hospital services. This is for a number of reasons - doctors go on holidays; nurses go on holidays; people who want elective surgery elect not to have it over the Christmas break because they want to be in a position to enjoy Christmas.

That practice will continue, because there is no reason to adjust it; but it is true that the Board of Health will be taking advantage of that Christmas period in savings terms because it is a time when the hospitals wind down. So, it is true that over the Christmas break there will be the normal winding back of services in the hospitals. I am just trying to look for some more information on it which might be of some help to you, Mr Humphries.

Mr Humphries: Look under "hospital services". That is where it usually used to be.

MR BERRY: Yes, that is right. All I can say is that that customary period of close-down will occur again, and the Hospital Board has indicated that, where more savings can be made over that period, they will be made.

MR HUMPHRIES: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I am greatly relieved to hear the Minister refer to the normal winding back of hospital services and the customary period of close-down. Since that period is normally and customarily only three weeks, I take it that the Minister is confirming that there will not be a shutdown right until 28 January next year?

MR BERRY: I have answered Mr Humphries' question. I told him that the board would be taking advantage of the customary close-down period to make extended savings if that is possible.

Payroll Tax

MR COLLAERY: My question is addressed to the Chief Minister in her role as Treasurer. It relates to payroll tax issues. I note that the Chief Minister is corresponding with representatives of industry, and I am aware of discussions between industry and the Treasury. I ask the Chief Minister whether she intends to bring in some

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