Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2134 ..
have replaced those beds. Indeed, we have replaced more than those beds. We are up to 200 beds now replaced, and they will assist us—
Mr Hanson: Why are the waiting times not—
MS GALLAGHER: Because demand grows, Mr Hanson—what you do not get. It does not stay still. The health system grows. Demand grows. You have got to continue to invest and direct your services—and that is exactly what this government is doing.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson?
MR HANSON: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, why is it that the waiting time at the 50th percentile is double the national average and at the 90th percentile it is 158 days longer than the national average?
MS GALLAGHER: As I have said a number of times, when you look at our performance in our urgent, emergency, surgery, we are the best in the country. I think up to 97 per cent of our category 1 patients are done on time. There is a considerable wait for some patients in categories 2 and 3. They are the longer wait patients and that is where you are going to see those distortions. The staff in the hospital work incredibly hard to make sure that people get access to surgery in a timely fashion. Some of our constraints include the availability of our specialists. If you do not have specialists to do the job in the public system or the private system in Canberra—
Mr Smyth: Fly them in.
MS GALLAGHER: Mr Smyth interjects, “Fly them in.” The medical profession themselves have some views about that. There are impacts on other areas of delivery of health services. We recruit VMOs, we recruit staff specialists and we recruit locums. We have an active recruitment process.
Mr Hanson: Not very successfully you don’t.
MS GALLAGHER: I know I should not respond to interjections, but everything that comes out of Mr Hanson’s mouth is wrong and needs correcting.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson.
MS GALLAGHER: He has accused us of fiddling the books, of which he has no evidence. I would not imagine I would hear those words out of his mouth outside of this chamber.
MR HANSON: Others have gone on the record.
MS GALLAGHER: And who do not have any proof at all. This government is investing heavily in elective surgery. We have built extra theatres, we are employing extra doctors, and extra surgery is being performed.