Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 861 ..
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MS GALLAGHER: No, you did not measure bed occupancy. Bed occupancy was not measured until about four or five years ago. So it was not measured, and it was not measured because it was running at pretty much 100 per cent capacity, because 114 beds had been stripped from the system. Bed occupancy now, in the latest data, is almost down to 85 per cent, which is the target we set ourselves. And the reason we are reaching that target is because of the beds that we have replaced—over 170 beds that we have replaced. So, if you look across all of the performance areas and indicators of the public health system, you will see that the ACT has a high quality public healthcare system run by dedicated professionals where efficiency is being improved all the time, despite demand growing at record levels and demand growing at levels that no other government in this place has ever seen before or ever dealt with.
Mr Smyth interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth!
MS GALLAGHER: So, in the context of waiting, and at times waiting for care, that is going to be part of our public health system, and it is part of every public health system. If you look at major metropolitan tertiary hospitals, you will see that the waits are not dissimilar to Canberra Hospital, where 53 per cent of everything that walks in our theatres every day, or rolls in our theatres every day—
Mr Smyth interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: Just for a moment have a think about this: 53 per cent of everything that occurs in our theatres every day is unplanned; nobody knows it is going to turn up. That is 53 per cent every day, and that system copes. That system not only gets through emergency work—53 per cent; it also gets through the elective work. And the median waiting time for elective surgery is coming down all the time.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you apologise to people who have waited for hours in the emergency department for the Chief Minister suggesting that they were whingers?
MS GALLAGHER: Again—
Mr Stanhope: I didn’t suggest that. I do not know how we deal with these issues of misrepresentation and mislead like this at question time, Mr Speaker. I would welcome your advice and your ruling on what one does when one is quite deliberately misrepresented, where there is mislead such as the mislead we have just had—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR STANHOPE: I would welcome your ruling on whether or not I need now to actually move a censure motion against the Leader of the Opposition in order to have this misleading statement withdrawn.