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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 862 ..


MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, my best advice at this point is that you could seek the Speaker’s leave—I think at the end of question time; I will have to check—under standing order 46 to make a personal explanation. That is the mechanism, I believe.

MS GALLAGHER: When I get complaints about waiting times in the emergency department, I ask that Health investigate those complaints. They do. If it requires an apology from me, I apologise. I frame that apology in the sense “I am sorry you had to wait”, but I also put it in the context of what was being dealt with that day—for example, “Dear so-and-so, during the time that you were waiting, 171 people were seen that day, of whom three were category 1, 27 were category 2 and 50 were category 3. You were in category 4.” That is the context.

One of the issues with the emergency department is that when you are sitting in that room it is not often clear what is happening behind the windows in the clinical area. But people need to understand that in both our emergency departments—Calvary is experiencing exactly the same—demand continues to grow. What we ask for is an understanding that, when those places are busy and when, based on clinical need, more urgent cases come ahead of you, that will result in a wait.

I do not know that it is an unreasonable thing as a community to say that, when you have a baby under one year presenting in a critical condition, yes, they will be seen ahead of the person with the cut finger. That may mean that the person with the cut finger gets pushed down the line. And, for example, as happens on a regular basis, Snowy Hydro SouthCare may arrive with an accident from New South Wales. Again, that may push the person back.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is the minister aware that a patient presented to accident and emergency on Sunday at 6.30 and was seen by the staff there?

MR SPEAKER: Preamble, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: No. Is the minister aware that a patient presented at 6.30 on Sunday, was triaged, was treated, was strapped for a snapped Achilles tendon, was presented again to the accident and emergency section on the Monday, was operated on—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR HARGREAVES: Hang on. I have heard you in absolute silence.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, in the way you have framed it clearly you are pushing the boundaries.

MR HARGREAVES: It is a concertina game, Mr Speaker. They do not like it, Mr Speaker. That is hard luck; suck it up. Mr Speaker, I would like to know if the minister is aware that, in fact, that same patient received an operation yesterday, the


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