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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1567 ..


department waiting times are coming down”. On 15 February this year you advised the Assembly that the Canberra Hospital emergency department waiting times were headed in the right direction. However, a report received through FOI shows that only 44 per cent of people who presented to the Canberra Hospital emergency department from July 2017 to February 2018 were seen on time. This compares to the target of 70 per cent and to the 61 per cent who were seen on time up to February 2017. Minister, why were only 44 per cent of people who presented to the Canberra Hospital emergency department seen on time? This is well below the target and well below the achievement for the same time last year.

MS FITZHARRIS: I note that the information provided in the FOI was year-to-date information. As I said earlier, it is generally the case that these figures are reported over the full financial year, so some of these figures relate to the previous year. I note, with the previous year, that at the end of each year data is subjected to a verification process. It certainly goes through a verification process before that information is provided to our national partners for presenting financial year information.

As I said it is certainly the case that there have been general improvements in emergency department wait times at the Canberra Hospital. I mentioned that earlier. That has been the case over a number of years. Last year we saw the worst flu season since 2009. That happened right across the country. Therefore the average for the year was worse than that of the previous year because of a significant increase in presentations in our community.

The initial advice to me was that, following a very bad flu season, we might expect to see a more normal flu season approaching. This year, in the first quarter, we have already seen a doubling of those people who have notified as having the flu. That is one contributor to increased demand as well.

The unprecedented winter season last year saw an increase in the number of people presenting to ED. It is also the case that the rate of people presenting to the ED has doubled over the previous two years. It concerns me that only 44 per cent of patients on average were seen within the clinically recommended time. It concerns me even more for category 3 patients. (Time expired.)

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what was the basis of the advice that you gave on 15 August 2017 and on 15 February 2018 that data was heading in the right direction if, from your previous statements in answer to the question, you were saying essentially that the data that was released to the ABC was not worth a cracker?

MS FITZHARRIS: I did not say that. I based it on the fact that each year between 2015-16 and 2016-17 emergency department performance had improved.

MR COE: Minister, why did you advise the Assembly that waiting times are coming down and were headed in the right direction as of 15 February when this was clearly not the case, and will you now correct the record?

MS FITZHARRIS: I advised the Assembly that, based on financial year performance, ACT Health performed better in 2016-17 than it did in 2015-16. In the


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