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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 637 ..


In the case of the hospital switchboard, the program for repair will not be finished until 2019. All members will recall the fire, the 60 patients who were evacuated and the cancellation of elective surgery that happened in that place in April last year. These chaotic scenes would not have occurred if the government had maintained the hospital properly and acted appropriately.

I will quote from the Canberra Times this week:

Now we have a situation where workers are frustrated at the conditions in which they have to work, angry at the way they have been treated, and concerned about their own health and safety.

They also had concerns about the dilapidated, sloppy and unclean circumstances of their tearoom. It shows quite clearly the Dickensian decay in parts of the hospital.

In 2014 the urology department at the Canberra Hospital lost its accreditation due to poor staff culture. At the time the hospital said that the removal of the accreditation would not impact on clinical care. How wrong could they be? As we saw earlier this month, a disability pensioner has had to wait for nearly five years to see a urologist because there was a chronic shortage of specialists. That was the wait to get on a list to be treated. We do not know how long she will have to wait to actually get services. As a result, she has had to scrimp and save to pay for the procedure in the private sector because she cannot wait for five years in the public system. If a disability pensioner has to fund the cost of a private operation out of her own money because of the long wait, this clearly is a Dickensian situation.

Madam Assistant Speaker, my speaking time is about to expire. There is a long list of things that are wrong with the Canberra Hospital system. My colleagues Ms Lee and Mr Milligan will also speak on this matter because it is of prime importance to the people of the ACT and the Canberra Liberals.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (4.27): I am pleased that such an important subject is being discussed today, but I disagree with the way Mrs Dunne has framed this, both in the title of the MPI and in many aspects of her speech.

What I would like to talk about is what indeed is going very well in the ACT public health system and what is improving, and outline once again that we have an exceptionally high quality health system here. We have wonderful people working within it, and we have thousands of members of our community receiving this high quality care every day. They know that they can trust our health system. They trust it every day. They receive treatment in it every day, whether that is planned or unplanned, and while there will always be ways to improve, and always things that we can do better, I am very confident that the ACT community is very well serviced by its public health system.


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