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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2923..


Disability services

MS TUCKER: My question is to the minister for disabilities and relates to unmet need in the provision of services to people with a disability; in particular, the provision of therapy services. I understand that work commenced this year on the production of a profile for people with a disability in the ACT and that the government made a pre-election promise to conduct an independent research study of unmet need in the ACT. Can the minister tell the Assembly when the profile will be published and how far the independent research study has progressed? Also, can the minister confirm whether this study includes the identification of future and new need?

MR WOOD: Quite a deal of work is going on, as Ms Tucker suggests, and not all of it within Disability ACT. As part of the development of a social plan-one of your strong points of presentation over the years-this work is also being collated. Indeed, one of the difficulties we have had in arguing for improvements and for more funds is the need to identify the extent of the unmet need. I will have to come back to you with the details as to when we expect reports and where we are at. The task is pretty complex. We are getting assistance. I have had a number of reports from community agencies in that area. The work is taking some time. I will get back to you with fine detail on that.

MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question. Minister, could you also table in the Assembly by the end of the next sitting week, if you need that long, information on the caseload of therapists, including OTs, speech therapists, physiotherapists and social workers, who were working in what was called the multidisciplinary team before it was merged with CHADS and, similarly, the caseloads of therapists in CHADS?

MR WOOD: Okay.

Hospital waiting lists

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. It refers to an article in the Canberra Times of 8 August regarding a Mr Darrell White, who was put on the waiting list for back surgery in October 2002. After a number of cancellations, Mr White was admitted to hospital for surgery on 2 June, and it was cancelled again. He was admitted again on 23 June and it was cancelled.

Another thing we need to know about Mr White is that, in addition to having to have back surgery, he is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and doing the fast really messes up blood sugar levels. And this was done unnecessarily.

He eventually had the surgery done as a private patient on Sunday 3 August, after receiving money from an insurance payout. Mr White said, in the Canberra Times, "My story emphasises that there continues to be a problem with the ACT's health system."Why do you remain doggedly optimistic that the elective surgery system is improving when you continue to fail patients, like Mr White, who require extensive and urgent elective surgery?


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