Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2362 ..
Question so resolved in the negative.
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (9.33): In closing—
MR SPEAKER: Beautiful.
MR HANSON: I thought you would be happy. In view of the hour, I will be brief. I would like to thank members for their contributions. I would like to thank Mr Seselja, my colleague, for his contributions and his amendment. Although it has not been supported, I do believe that it is important that we get to the bottom of what actually was the intent behind the minister’s statement in this Assembly. We do need to go through the Hansard. We need to go through the facts to see whether there have been any misleads. I think the important part of that is understanding what information the minister had at the time that she made her statements in the Assembly yesterday.
As to the full, substantive elements of the motion, I thank the Greens for their contribution to the debate and their support of this motion today. Given that the minister was clearly going to refuse to provide the information that this Assembly needed with regard to the management of waiting lists, requesting that the Auditor-General provide us with a report, a review, an audit of the waiting list is the most satisfactory way to go forward. I would ask that the Auditor General, when she receives that request, address it in the most timely fashion.
There is no question that our lists are the worst in the country. There is no question that they are getting worse and there is no question that this minister has abjectly failed both for the longer wait patients—the majority of wait patients—and for the median-wait patients to actually rectify what is an appalling situation.
The other issue that is being discussed at length tonight is that of the management of elective surgery waiting lists and why it is that category 1 patients are being downgraded from category 1 to category 2. The question needs to be resolved, because it is quite clear that it is to the minister’s advantage to boast that 95 per cent of her category 1 patients are seen on time. I am sure if I review the Hansard I will be able to find examples of that.
But when we actually examine what is occurring, based on the evidence that we have received, it is quite clear that doctors are put in an impossible position because they simply do not have the capacity to do more surgery, in particular in areas of ACT Health where there are staff shortages. By the minister’s own admission, there are certainly areas like that. Neurology is the case that has been mentioned, but I am sure there are others.
They are being asked essentially to get the surgery done when they cannot, give it to another doctor—and that cannot work—or downgrade the surgery. Why is it that, in order for the surgery to be done outside the 30-day period and for a date to be given, that surgery would need to be downgraded? And what should be occurring rather is that, if surgery cannot be conducted within the 30 days because there are shortages of