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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3603..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Even now the backflips continue. We see Ian Campbell in the most uncomfortable of backflips. Those of us that have attended environment ministers' meetings over the last couple of years have been assailed time and again by Senator Campbell about the absurdity of emissions trading or of signing Kyoto. He is now sitting in the bleachers, muffled in Nairobi-the most important conference the world will have this year-unable to speak because we refused, in our sycophancy to the United States, to agree to Kyoto. (Time expired.)

Hospitals-pay parking

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, you have now been forced to add further exemptions to those people who do not have to pay parking fees at the ACT public hospitals. What is the revised estimate of revenue that will be raised from pay parking at the public hospitals?

MS GALLAGHER: I am not aware of any further exemptions that have been offered under the pay parking regime.

Hospitals-bed occupancy rate

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in September 2006 you released the performance report for ACT public health services for the June quarter 2006. In that report there is an analysis of a number of critical performance indicators for the ACT's public hospitals, including the proportion of beds available for immediate use by admitted patients.

Minister, how will you achieve a bed occupancy rate of 93 per cent in 2006-07 and a long-term rate of 90 per cent when the average occupancy rate during 2005-06 was 96 per cent and the occupancy rate during the latest June quarter was 97 per cent?

MS GALLAGHER: It is clear that, in order to assist a hospital to work well on a day-by-day basis, you need the capacity to admit people to the hospital, and that is the reason behind the target of lower occupancy rates than we have had. This is part of the huge business redesign that is under way at the hospital, and has been for some time under the access improvement program. These targets have been set in order to ensure that access block and bed block do not occur to the level that has been occurring in recent times.

There are a number of measures. There is the access improvement program. If anyone is interested to hear me talk about the program, I can go into it at length. If people would like a briefing on it, I am happy to provide that. A massive amount of work has been occurring in the emergency department and in aged care. It is now being moved into the surgical area. It is looking at the way the hospital operates at the grassroots level and making changes, where possible. It is looking at discharge practices, making sure that people who do not need to be in the hospital are not in the hospital and that they are able to leave the hospital in a timely fashion, thereby freeing up beds.

The target of lower occupancy rates is to make sure that we do have beds, when the emergency department is busy, so that we can admit people to hospital in a timely

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