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Mr Berry: In seven weeks?

MRS CARNELL: No, not in seven weeks, Mr Berry; but more than 540 patients have taken part in this program following cardiac surgery. An evaluation of the program by the Department of Psychology has found that the majority of patients feel that it has been a great benefit in helping them to establish confidence to return to both a reasonable lifestyle and employment. Already much has been achieved in providing a first-class cardiac service in the ACT, and I am pleased that a $6,000 grant in 1994-95 has been put towards extending this service to Calvary Hospital.

I would like to congratulate all those people involved in the prevention of heart disease, including the National Heart Foundation, for their dedicated work in lowering the number of people who suffer and die from cardiovascular disease in the ACT and in the surrounding region. I would also like to commend the previous Government for their development of the health goals and targets document, and for their support for initiatives in the area of heart health and cardiology. I am confident that we can continue this bipartisan approach - except possibly for Mr Berry - in combating one of Australia's biggest killers. This is an important issue for the ACT, and I think it is unfortunate that Mr Berry, even on this issue, simply cannot accept that we can work together. I table the statement and I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR CONNOLLY (3.22): When the Health Minister gets up and makes, basically, a non-political statement about an important issue of public health, and is prepared to acknowledge in that statement that this is an issue that goes across governments and - - -

Mrs Carnell: It did not help him.

MR CONNOLLY: I think it was appropriate for Mr Berry to raise the question of whether all these good things had happened in the last seven weeks; but I was pleased to see that at the end of your speech you did have the grace to acknowledge that many of these good things had occurred over time. When the Health Minister makes such a statement, she is deserving of the Opposition's full support, which she has. The only other thing I want to add is my congratulations, and Mr Berry’s, to Dr Howard Peak and his team who set up that cardiac rehabilitation program during the period of Mr Berry's stewardship of ACT Health. It is a program which, as the Chief Minister noted, has been seen as a model around Australia. It is an example of innovative health programs being adopted in the ACT. I was delighted to hear Mrs Carnell's comment that we do have a first-rate cardiac facility at Woden now, as far as it goes. It is a little further away from the description “Third World medicine” that we used to hear from the then Opposition; but one's perception does change in government, and I am delighted that Mrs Carnell does acknowledge that. In relation to the commitment to move forward on the cardio-thoracic surgical front, that, of course, we welcome. That equally was an initiative that we made some announcements about late last year and in the election context. It is something that should proceed apace, with the support of both sides of politics because we were essentially moving in the same direction.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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