Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2357 ..
… would you consider it appropriate or in accordance with policy that ACT Health would be contacting doctors to ask that they downgrade their patients?
Ask them. It says, “If you want this date, you will be recategorised.” That is the way to get the date. That is the way to get the surgery. That is the way—by downgrading the patient, by moving to category 2a, where there is a different time frame. There is a different time frame for them. What we have here is a situation where Ms Gallagher says, “No; don’t believe anything in that letter. Certainly don’t believe the bits that I omitted to read from.” They actually back up what is being said.
This is the fundamental problem. We have all sorts of problems with our elective surgery waiting times. We know that there is a lot of sensitivity from this government about the fact that we have the longest elective surgery waiting times in the country. From time to time, we hear Ms Gallagher trumpeting the fact that category 1 is not as bad as the other categories. We know that that is being manipulated. This is not a genuine process. What we have is a situation where we have the minister on the record. We have got officials on the record, responding to these allegations and saying, “There is nothing in them.”
We would be interested to know what was in the briefing for Ms Gallagher when she came back. Before question time yesterday, she sought a briefing. She would have received a briefing about these allegations. We would like to see those documents. We would like the Minister for Health to table those documents so that we can see what information was given to the minister before question time.
I want to move an amendment to Ms Bresnan’s amendment to Mr Hanson’s motion, and I circulate that now. Before I hand it over, let me say that it calls for the minister to table any and all documents relating to the brief the Minister for Health referred to in question time on 22 June in response to Mr Hanson’s question relating to hospital waiting times, by the close of business on the last sitting day of this sitting fortnight, including, but not being limited to, briefing papers, meeting notes, emails and correspondence from your department. I should amend it, because it should be by Tuesday. It is just a brief. I am happy to assist the Clerk with the wording. I move:
“(3) calls on the Minister for Health to table any and all documents relating to the brief to the Minister for Health referred to by the Minister for Health in question time on 22 June 2010 in response to Mr Hanson’s question relating to hospital waiting times by the close of business of Tuesday, 29 June 2010, including, but not limited to, briefing papers, meeting notes, emails, correspondence from your Department.”.
It is important that the minister table this. What we have here is a situation where we have letters going to doctors saying that, in order to get a date for surgery for their patients, they have to be recategorised. The only impact of them being recategorised is that category 1 suddenly looks better. Suddenly there are fewer people who fall outside 30 days for category 1. These are serious matters, and Ms Gallagher, in omitting to read from the critical—