Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1869 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
The third factor has been the unusually large number of operating theatre nurses who have been on maternity leave. All of this has meant that surgery at Woden has been reduced from an average of eight sessions morning and afternoon to between five and seven. There has been a resulting impact upon elective surgery waiting lists, as members will note from the monthly reports that are routinely provided by this Government.
I am very pleased to report that the staffing crisis in our operating theatres will soon ease dramatically, thanks to some quick action by the Department of Health and Community Care. Last month Woden Valley Hospital conducted extensive advertising within the health system, seeking expressions of interest from nursing staff who were interested in working in operating theatres but had little or no experience in the area. The campaign was successful and, as a result, last week six nurses began an extended introductory program for operating room techniques at Woden. The program, incorporating both theoretical and clinical factor skills, will take some four weeks to complete. It is hoped that a second introductory course can be conducted early in the new year and that more nursing staff will be attracted to this vital, if sometimes unglamorous, area of hospital care.
I am also pleased to report that a number of operating theatre nurses have recently returned from maternity leave and have substantially increased the number available for rostering for operating theatres. Finally, sick leave has dropped to a much lower level and, as a result, few procedures have been delayed or cancelled. I was out at the hospital last week and there were nine operating theatres in use. I think that is the first time for a very long time that we have had nine operating theatres running at Woden Valley Hospital. We are hoping that, with six new nurses coming on stream very shortly and nurses coming back from maternity leave, we may be able to keep nine or possibly even 10 operating theatres open in the future at Woden.
MR BERRY: My question is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Minister, what costs will the ACT Government incur in relation to the Harold Hird election auction of 15 taxi plates next Wednesday for such things as advertising and the provision of the venue? How much have you spent on this benefit?
MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Berry for his question. I do not know what money we have spent so far on advertising.
Mr Berry: You do not know?
Ms Follett: Well, find out.
MR SPEAKER: Order!