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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 February 2011) . . Page.. 171 ..


first advised about the re-categorisation issue and the lack of documentation on 5 August 2010. That was the first time, after repeated advice from my department that all of the policy was being followed in its entirety. On 5 August they confirmed to me that they had found examples where the policy was not being followed.

In relation to the Productivity Commission’s report on government services, it goes to the issues of the demand that we are seeing for elective surgery. Thirty per cent of our elective list comes from New South Wales. No other jurisdiction deals with that amount of influx into their own system, to manage on top of the demand from their own community. That provides us with extra pressure on our waiting list, and that is the reason why people experience waits. We have a waiting list, we have demand growing all the time, we have a higher acuity, sicker patients, coming from New South Wales, and that impacts on the timeliness with which people can have access to care.

With respect to New South Wales patients coming here, I note that Barry O’Farrell last week commented that they come here for the superior service that is provided in the ACT health system. It is not a view shared, I think, by the local opposition, but certainly the New South Wales opposition believes that New South Wales patients come here because they get superior service and superior treatment. For example—

Mr Coe: New South Wales Health isn’t exactly a high water mark.

MS GALLAGHER: Isn’t it? Well, go and look at their performance against the national benchmarks. You can’t have it both ways, Alistair. If you are going to beat us up for benchmark performance, New South Wales actually do very well.

Mr Coe interjecting

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, this is not a discussion.

MS GALLAGHER: Then Barry O’Farrell comes and says our services are superior. I have to say that if we were not dealing with 30 per cent of the elective surgery list coming from New South Wales, and we were just dealing with our own jurisdiction, as most other jurisdictions do, the demand for elective surgery would not be as great and people would not experience those sorts of waits.

But this is the nature of the jurisdiction we work in. We have a small jurisdiction. We have two hospitals. We have not been able to role-delineate across those hospitals as we perhaps would like, to ensure that elective surgery is done in the most efficient way. This is the first year that we have actually got the agreement of surgeons to go out to the private sector. All of that compounds, and when you look at Tasmania and the Northern Territory, small jurisdictions with the same issues that we have got, you will see that their performance in this area is very similar. And that is the harsh reality of demand and capacity.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, now you ask your question.


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