Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3061 ..
a 10-year war in obstetrics. I would have thought that is a problem. I would have thought that, if there is a war in obstetrics, that has the potential to adversely impact on health outcomes. Clearly it does, and the minister simply denied the problem.
Mr Hanson has led the way by calling for an inquiry, which was blocked by Labor and the Greens, and then by raising a matter of public importance. Finally we have a secret review launched: “Katy Gallagher has agreed to hold two external reviews into the Canberra Hospital’s maternity unit”. There is no doubt there is a failure to deal with these systemic and cultural issues. There is a denial that they exist when clearly the minister knew that there were problems. Clearly the minister knew there were problems, because she acknowledged on 24 February that there had been a 10-year war in obstetrics.
It does bring us to some of the statistics. It is interesting that in this place, when we refer to the statistics, the answer is always “we are doing our best and you are not really reading those statistics properly” but the statistics are damning. Then, when we refer to individual cases, the answer is “that is just an individual case”. The stats show that there is something wrong, and the individual cases reflect what the statistics show.
It is worth looking again at elective surgery waiting times. We have seen the AIHW report, released on 17 June, which shows that elective surgery waiting times in the ACT are the longest in Australia. You can only hide behind various iterations of the figures for so long. When you are delivering in elective surgery the longest waits in the country, something is seriously wrong. We compare it right across the board to New South Wales. The minister gets offended when we compare her to Reba Meagher. Reba Meagher lost her job.
Ms Gallagher: No, I have not. I have not once got offended.
MR SESELJA: She is now saying, I guess, Reba Meagher should be offended, because Reba Meagher and the New South Wales Labor government delivered better stats. It is extraordinary. The stats show: “Days waited at 50th percentile: ACT, 75; New South Wales, 39.” We are always told they are the worst government in the country but look at this: “Days waited at 50th percentile: ACT, 75; New South Wales, 39. Days waited at 90th percentile: ACT, 378; New South Wales, 283.” The percentage who waited for more than 365 days is more than 10 per cent in the ACT, 10.6 per cent; New South Wales, 2.5 per cent.
So the sobering statistics show that when it comes to elective surgery this government is doing worse than any other government in the country. And have we not seen some bad Labor governments around the country in recent years? Yet this ACT Labor government is delivering worse outcomes than any of them, New South Wales included. The AIHW report actually shows that it has got worse.
For all the talk that things are improving, we know that since they came to office it has got dramatically worse. It has just about doubled since they came to office—what was it?—40 days to 75 days. And now we see, even on the latest statistics that we have from AIHW, that is has gone from 72 days to 75 days, about double what New South Wales is delivering. It is continuing to deteriorate and is 31 days longer than the national average.