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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4200 ..

Hospital. But they were able to deliver this project while building a ward underneath, while a car park was under construction, while the women’s and children’s hospital was under construction, and while the early works have started for the acute mental health in-patient unit. And it was done without any major disruption to patients or staff. I think that is really a testament to the skill and dedication of all those involved in the project.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, have you received any correspondence or advice from any neurosurgeons indicating that the new imagery machine within the neurosurgery suite was not a prudent purchase by ACT Health?

MS GALLAGHER: From any neurosurgeons? No, I do not believe I have received any correspondence. I will check that, but to date—

Mr Hanson: Or verbal advice, minister.

MS GALLAGHER: I certainly have not received any. The neurosurgeons have been very positive about this. I have not received any criticism around the cost of the facility, if that is the question. I think it was raised by the media at the opening about whether it was worth while to spend $10½ million on a very specialised operating theatre. I guess you can look at health expenditure in a variety of ways. I am not sure it is just a straight mathematical equation: “You have done so many patients. It costs this much, therefore, it equals that.” I think one of the other benefits of the neuro suite is that it frees up an operating theatre that was used for neurosurgery lists. It will not free it up entirely, but it will create capacity within our existing elective surgery program to increase our throughput.

For the individuals that have already been operated on—and indeed the feedback that I have got to date around a particular patient whose surgery changed quite dramatically because of the technology that was available—I am not sure you can put a price on that. We are trying to build up the Canberra Hospital as a major teaching hospital with a connection with ANU. I think the fact that we are the only place in Australia that has this technology will greatly enhance our teaching and training opportunities, which has to be good for the ACT community and the surrounding region, and good for the health system overall.

Schools—distribution of political material

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, on 2 September, you, Ms Hunter and I were present at a student forum with students at Campbell high school. At that meeting, a white plastic bag featuring ALP branding was on each of the students’ chairs upon their arrival in the classroom. Minister, were you or someone from your office responsible for the distribution of the bags? What did the bags contain? Can you advise which policy or procedure authorises you to hand out such material?

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