Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 June 2011) . . Page.. 2261 ..
there are often opportunities to reallocate patients to other surgeons to improve timeliness if that is possible. It depends on the nature of the surgery that needs to be performed and the preparedness of people to consider other surgeons.
I do not think it is any secret that we have a proportion of our waiting list who are waiting too long for care. Indeed, the focus of the elective surgery access plan is to concentrate on those people and to make sure that they do have their surgery. I am not sure whether he is a category 3 patient or a category 2 patient—
Mr Hanson: It sounds like 2A if it is 60 days, doesn’t it?
MS GALLAGHER: If he is a category 2 patient, what type of surgery he needs. I am very happy to look into it.
The effort that is going in at the moment is to clear the long waits from the list and we are seeing significant improvements. That is not to say that there is not more to be done. There is. That is exactly why in the government’s priorities I have outlined that as a key measure of achievement and a key target for us to focus on. That message is not only from me to the community. It is from me to the strategic board and it is from me to the Health Directorate about the expectations I have of improving that result.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson?
MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Max stated that his wife had already contacted your office 170 days ago and—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, preamble.
MR HANSON: Although authorities were contacted, no results ensued. Chief Minister, what did you do to assist Max, and why did that fail?
MS GALLAGHER: One thing I can, do and will make clear is that I do not determine when people get their operation. I am not a clinician. I do not ask—
Mr Seselja interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: I follow up every single person that contacts my office and I ask that the elective surgery access coordinator speak with them—which they always do, and I think in this case it is correct—whether that is about explaining options, whether that is explaining the wait, whether that is explaining what they are doing to try and improve people’s access or whether it is about how they will keep in contact to provide more information. There are a range of options.
If Mr Hanson is asking me whether, on receipt of a call, I am able to deliver that person their operation, no, I do not get involved in those decisions and I am not going to get involved in those decisions. Those decisions can only be made by a clinician. I can assist people with information. I can ensure that we are doing more operations than we have ever done, and that is the case. I can ensure that the waiting list is coming down. I can ensure that we are improving access to elective surgery. But can I determine whether someone gets their operation and on what date? No, I cannot.