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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 144 ..

centre to provide greater clinical support to our Ambulance Service officers on the road from the communications centre, so that judgements can be made about whether or not the call coming through is actually a 000 call and warrants the highest level of response or whether a lower but still appropriate level of response is put in place by the crew and by the comms centre. So these are all measures that the government is putting in place to try and manage demand and still provide a very high level of service.

What is pleasing about the ROGS data is that, of emergency patients surveyed by the Ambulance Service, 96 per cent were either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service provided. So we still have a very high level of customer satisfaction from users of the Ambulance Service. They appreciate the level of service and they recognise that it is of a high quality.

What is also pleasing in the data from ROGS is that survival rates in the ACT for adults that have suffered a cardiac arrest where resuscitation was undertaken by the ACT Ambulance Service intensive care paramedics was above the national average. So we have got survival rates above the national average. That is also a very pleasing figure.

As minister, I recognise there are real pressures on our Ambulance Service. They are driven by growth. They are driven by an ageing of the population. More and more people are resorting to the Ambulance Service in their time of need. We are taking steps to address that. We are taking steps to improve resourcing, to work with staff, to work with management, to put in place the measures that are necessary. Of course, as members would be aware, the government has agreed to a full review of the operation of ambulance services. That work is close to completion and that will give us a strong framework for further decisions we need to take to further improve the management of the Ambulance Service into the future.

The point Ms Hunter was trying to make, and which has been so unfairly criticised by those on the other side of the Assembly, is that you have to view this data with a little bit of intelligence, a little bit of thoughtfulness, and recognise that the report itself acknowledges that in many instances data for indicators are not directly comparable. Indeed, in relation to the Ambulance Service data itself, there is a very clear disclaimer by the Productivity Commission where it says: “Data for this indicator in relation to response times are not directly comparable”—and they are not directly comparable for the reasons that have been outlined. As I think Ms Hunter was trying to say, if you want to have a serious debate about this, take those things into account, acknowledge them and be intellectually honest about it, rather than trying to score the cheap political point.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (11.29): I will address a few points that have been raised, in particular in relation to some of the health issues. We have had a lot of discussion about the median waiting times for elective surgery. I note the data in the Productivity Commission report about our elective surgery waiting lists is from 2007-08 and that since then extra funds have been appropriated by both the ACT and federal governments and that there have been reasonable improvements.

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