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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (30 July) . . Page.. 3084..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

works or not-before we proceed down that path. As such, I believe that this motion is unnecessary.

MS DUNDAS (5.44): I will speak to the amendment and, if nobody else is going to speak, I will also wrap up the debate in general. Firstly, I am happy to support this amendment. It picks up on some of the concerns that Ms MacDonald raised. If she had heard what Mrs Cross actually said, she would know that the amendment goes to the point of supporting patients when they know that they are coming in for surgery, before they get to hospital, and that pre-operative counselling six weeks beforehand substantially reduces the risk of postoperative complications. We are trying to work at this in a holistic way, supporting people while they are in hospital, before they get to hospital and after they leave hospital.

Ms MacDonald went through what the government is currently doing; I also noted that in my speech. I again make the point that our nurses and the people who work in our hospitals are currently very stretched and very stressed. Having a train the trainer program for nurse administrators relies on them to have time to sit with their nurses and train their nurses, and then it relies on nurses having the time in their already busy daily schedules to work with the patients.

What this motion calls for is getting one staff member, who used to work in the Canberra Hospital, to be able to sit next to a patient, work through the issues with them and provide them with information and with ongoing networks through to the quit programs and other programs that are being run by the Cancer Council.

I thank the Acting Minister for Health for his initial support when he said that it looks like an excellent idea. It is important to recognise that smokers enter hospital for a range of reasons, be they smoking-related illnesses or other situations, and it is the perfect opportunity, while they are there working through the health problems that led them to be in hospital, to provide them with the extra advice and the extra support they need to quit smoking.

Ms Tucker has mentioned that it is a hard thing to do. While somebody is in a hospital, in a sterile environment, it is a great opportunity to work with and support that person. Many people do not ring Quitline when they are out of hospital because they are not really thinking about it. But when they are in hospital and are forced to not smoke, when they are forced to consider their health options, there is the perfect opportunity to offer them counselling. They do not have to take it up, but at least the offer has been put to them in a focused environment.

Studies that have come out in the last two days have shown that legal drugs pose more health risks than illicit drugs, especially to young people in our community. So we need to focus on legal drugs, such as cigarettes, and support people who, for one reason or another, have entered hospital and have the opportunity to be supported to quit smoking.

MRS CROSS (5.48): I have a document on smoking that I thought members would be interested in: "Smoking 'damages surgery recovery'". I seek leave to table this document, which confirms and reiterates the message that I conveyed in my speech regarding smokers abstaining from smoking at least six weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of complications.

Leave granted.

MRS CROSS: I present the following paper:

"Smoking damages surgery recovery"-Extract from BBC News website, dated 11 January 2002.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism,

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