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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2332 ..

(c) patients waiting for surgery that should be completed within 60 days (Category 2A) are included in the numbers of people who have been waiting for over a year;

(d) allegations have been made that serious mistakes were made and lists were being deliberately manipulated after an elective surgery patient was downgraded from Urgent Category 1, requiring surgery within 30 days, to Semi-Urgent Category 2A, requiring surgery within 60 days;

(e) an elective surgery patient has alleged that he was informed by ACT Health staff that in the case of elective surgery patients requiring urgent elective surgery, that “anyone who isn’t operated on in the 30 days, the hospital downgrades”;

(f) the ACT President of the Visiting Medical Officers Association has alleged that the practice of downgrading urgent elective surgery patients who cannot be seen on time is “an illegal stunt that’s done by the administration to try and make their figures look better”; and

(g) the community has lost confidence in the Minister’s ability to effectively manage elective surgery in the ACT and believes that the Government is not doing enough to reduce waiting times for elective surgery;

(2) calls on the Minister to provide to the Assembly by close of business on 24 June 2010:

(a) the number of elective surgery patients in the ACT who in the last 24 months have been downgraded from Urgent Category 1 to a lower category;

(b) for each case where a patient was downgraded:

(i) the details of how long the patient had been on the waiting list as an Urgent Category 1 patient on the day that they were downgraded;

(ii) an explanation of why each patient was downgraded from Urgent Category 1; and

(iii) an explanation of who initiated the decision or the request to downgrade the patient, that being either the patient’s doctor or an ACT Health official; and

(3) calls on the Minister to immediately explain to the Assembly why the ACT has the longest waiting times for elective surgery in the nation and why the waiting times have deteriorated under her administration.

I rise to talk about a very serious issue—that is, our elective surgery lists and the management of those lists here in the ACT. The motion is in two parts. The first relates to the appalling waiting times that we experience here in the ACT and the second relates to whether those lists are being manipulated in any way to make it appear that the patients under the urgent category 1 are, in fact, all being treated within the 95 per cent time limits that are being alleged or whether they are being managed by ACT Health to make them appear better.

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