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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3142 ..


significantly in increasing elective surgeries last financial year to make up that difference.

We have actually been growing our elective surgeries at significantly higher than the national average rate of growth over a number of years now. That is what my predecessor started. That is what I have been investing in. And we continue that in this budget with our investments in elective surgery which, as I have said, will deliver 14,800 elective surgeries in 2021-22, continue the enhanced recovery after surgery program and develop feasibility and design options for the Northside Elective Surgery Centre at the University of Canberra.

We are taking a territory-wide approach to elective surgery. We are investing in emergency surgery capacity to take that pressure off the system and we are making strategic investments and thinking strategically about how we continue to grow our elective surgery capacity and how we ensure that some of those areas where we have those long wait lists can be targeted. We are doing all of that work, Mr Parton, and I can assure you that it is a constant topic of conversation.

Hospitals—funding

MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the AMA’s report card on public hospitals released last week shows that the per person dollar amount spent by the ACT government on public hospitals is, in real terms, now almost the same dollar figure as it was in 2008-09—$1,741 per person. Meanwhile, commonwealth funding per person for public hospitals in the ACT over the same period has grown from $900 to $1,261 in real terms—a 40 per cent increase. Minister, why do you constantly give the impression that the territory is spending more and more per person on hospital funding when in fact we have stayed the same in real terms since 2008?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will go and have a look at the figures that Mr Cain has referred to, but I would indicate that our level of efficiency in our hospital system has significantly increased over recent years. Whatever the real dollar figure is, we are getting more for that because we have significantly improved the efficiency of our hospital system.

Yes, the commonwealth funding has increased as a result of all the work that was done around the National Health Reform Agreement and all of the work that was done by the previous Labor government federally to put in place new arrangements for the commonwealth to take more responsibility for hospital funding. Then the Labor government committed, if they won the election, to increase that share of funding to 50 per cent—something that was not committed to and was not delivered by the coalition government. It is not just the ACT government that says that the commonwealth, having more capacity to raise money and seeing the pressure across our hospital systems, not just in the ACT but around the country needs to step up. Labor and Liberal state governments and stakeholders right across the board, including the AMA, are saying that the commonwealth needs to step up to deliver 50 per cent of hospital funding, to recognise that this is a joint responsibility—they


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