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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 967 ..


couple of days under questioning, there are always going to be times when some handful of people may have to travel interstate for specialist services or because of temporary glitches in our system or overcapacity. I think all members in this place would acknowledge the reality and practicality of that observation.

The comments made about Ms Bresnan’s amendment are simply lazy. The fact that she has reproposed much of the text is in response to the very political language that is in Mr Hanson’s original motion. Good on him for trying, but when we come to passing motions, we need to have motions with real substance in them. Ms Bresnan’s amendment has picked up the key essence of Mr Hanson’s arguments. I think she actually concurs with him on a number of the concerns with regard to the problems that face services at the Canberra Hospital for cancer patients. She has endeavoured—I think she has done an excellent job—to turn it into a real motion that makes real points and seeks real answers by a real deadline. I congratulate Ms Bresnan on bringing forward a very constructive amendment, and I commend it to the Assembly.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.30): This is an important debate today and I congratulate Mr Hanson on bringing the matter forward because it shows that he does have particular concerns for the smooth and efficient operation of Canberra’s health system and that he has got his finger on the pulse when it comes to the problems that confront us. No-one says that it is easy to run a health system. No-one says that there are easy fixes—just press the magic button or ask Mr Rudd and everything will be fine. Health systems are notoriously complex and there are many areas where things can go wrong.

What we see in the ACT health system is a litany of the things that go wrong, which, in many ways, are getting worse under the tutelage of this current minister. And it might be all right for members of support groups and the like to say, “We do not want to blame the minister,” because really what they want to see is improved services. With all due regard to the great work that they do—they may see things in a different light—really, what they want is results but they do not see that the person who is responsible, ultimately responsible, for delivering the results sits in that chair over there, and that is the Minister for Health. She is the person who is paid the big salary to ensure that the health service runs as well as it possibly can.

Having said that we know that health services will not be perfect, what we have seen, under the tutelage of this minister, is a breakdown in all sorts of areas—a breakdown in communication, which is exemplified by the case that Mr Hanson brought today in relation to radiation oncology. The answer the minister gave in question time yesterday shows that she does not have a grasp of the situation. We have got a breakdown in the absolutely basic things.

When you are seeking radiation oncology and you actually cannot get your telephone calls answered, when you are under a great deal of stress, when you are being told that you should progress seamlessly from chemotherapy to radiation therapy and if you wait too long that your chemotherapy and your ongoing treatment will be compromised, if you cannot get people to answer the phone and give you an appointment, that is a serious problem because that adds to the stress. And one of the things that we have all been told every time one of us is confronted with cancer,


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