Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3604..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
fashion and meet other national targets. We have a number of measures in place to assist us to get there. I understand that at different times we have been moving downwards. Ninety-six per cent is getting better. Calvary has some success in recent months with their occupancy rates. But both our hospitals are very busy and those numbers will bounce around until we get all the redesign work under way.
We have new beds coming in. We have funded 20 additional beds in this budget. Those beds will be on line very soon. It is about more beds.
MR SMYTH: So it is about beds?
MS GALLAGHER: Yes, it is about more beds. I have never said it is not about more beds, Mr Smyth. You have said 100 beds for some time, and I know you say 100 subacute beds. But once the subacute facility is up and running in late December-early next year, we will have 126 new beds operating between TCH, Calvary and the subacute facility. So it is about new beds and creating capacity. There was money for critical care beds in this year's budget.
I imagine that in every budget from now until the future there will be more beds for the hospital system. Our demand for beds is growing. It is more beds, but it is also about the way we work at the hospital and making sure that the day-to-day running of the hospital is as efficient as possible to ensure that our occupancy rates can be kept low to create capacity for admissions when we need them.
MRS DUNNE: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, has there been any improvement in the bed occupancy rate at the ACT's public hospitals over the past four years?
MS GALLAGHER: I will take that question on notice. My understanding is there has been at different times. I cannot say that it happens in every quarter for which we report. My understanding is that it is going in the right direction, certainly at Calvary and TCH, but I am happy to provide that information to Mrs Dunne as soon as I get it.
Hospitals-patient administration system
MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Health. In April 2005, your government entered into a contract for the supply of a new patient administration system, PAS, which you talked about earlier. One feature of this new system is intended to ensure that the ACT receives appropriate reimbursement from Medicare. I have heard reports that the ACT is missing out on these funds because of deficiencies in the new patient administration system. Minister, why is the ACT not receiving reimbursements to which it is entitled from Medicare?
MS GALLAGHER: I believe that the question relates to the billing capacity of PAS. As I said to Mr Smyth in answer to his question, that is an area that has been affected by the implementation of this system. I am of the understanding that that either has been fixed or is very close to being fixed and there should not be any issue with it. I certainly have not been advised that the ACT is missing out on any money. I understand that it has affected billing and the capacity to do that in a quick way. I will come back to the Assembly with more information if I am wrong on that one, but I am