Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3859..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
whether it be through day surgery or through a more complex procedure at the other end. There is a whole range of steps along the way that need to be addressed in making sure we are offering the most efficient and effective process we can.
It is probably early days in relation to what we are learning from New South Wales, but they gave a presentation at this meeting. It is my understanding that they are going to come to every meeting of that task force to assist us through some of the discussions we are having with surgeons and other relevant people in the surgical journey in the ACT.
MR SMYTH: Minister, when will the elective surgery waiting lists in the ACT be reduced by your government as a result of this collaboration with New South Wales?
MS GALLAGHER: The elective surgery waiting lists are down from where they were at last year. They have come down a fair bit. We have had a couple of months where there were 24 being added to the list. I think that 4,703 was the last answer we gave to you, so the figure has gone up in the last couple of months. We are hopeful with the extra money that we are putting in. We are doing more surgery than ever—9,120 operations; never been done before in the territory—but we are seeing the same demand for people to come onto the waiting list.
It is a complex issue. I cannot say exactly when we are going to see the waiting list come down. I am hopeful that it will be down at this time next month, but the hospitals have been busy, so I cannot say that. We are doing everything we can to improve access to elective surgery. There is money in this year's budget—I think another $21/2 million—to increase the amount of surgery we are doing. We are looking at our private partners to see whether they can take on some of the low-acuity/high-volume work and be cost effective for us. We are targeting people who have been on the waiting list for longer than they should have been and making sure that they can get access to surgery.
We are doing the business redesign work, although we have to do that with the agreement of the surgeons. That is why we have set up the surgical access task force. We have opened another operating theatre. We have extended operating theatres. We are doing everything we can, but there will always be a demand for elective surgery. I have no doubt that we will exceed 9,000 operations this year. I am just looking at some figures from Calvary. Access to elective surgery in the first four months of 2006-07 was up 16 per cent, or 197 procedures, with 1,433 elective procedures in four months compared with 1,236 for the same period last year. A lot of effort is being put into making sure that we are getting that list to trend down. It has been going down. For a couple of months it has gone up slightly. I am confident that at the moment we are doing everything we can to address the pressure on the ACT's waiting list.
MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question to the Chief Minister relates to issues which impact upon our economy, reputation and capacity to attract business and tourism to the territory. This morning's collapse of the taxi prebooking system, combined with gridlock on Pialligo Avenue and traffic backup on Majura Road have highlighted a number of transport deficiencies across Canberra. Chief Minister, what is your