Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2728 ..
MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird. I thought you, Mr Berry, would be very interested in this answer. When you were Minister the numbers on the waiting lists blew out quite substantially. Under the Follett Government the waiting lists blew out by more than, I think, 21/2 times the level in 1991. While in government both Mr Connolly and Mr Berry disputed that waiting lists were a meaningful indicator of performance in our health system. Based upon the increase that they were responsible for, I am not too surprised that they had certain differences of opinion, shall we say, with regard to how useful waiting lists were. I take this opportunity to refresh Mr Berry's memory, particularly of his views on waiting lists. On 21 November 1990, while in opposition - - -
Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: The question was quite clearly addressed to Mrs Carnell's budget and her budget allocation for waiting lists. I would urge you to insist on relevance in the answer.
MR SPEAKER: Yes; relevance.
MRS CARNELL: I will definitely be relevant. I am definitely talking about waiting lists. On 21 November 1990, while in opposition, Mr Berry said:
One of the best performance indicators of a hospital system is the waiting lists. The waiting lists have exploded under this Minister.
At that stage he was talking about Mr Humphries. It seems that Mr Berry believed, at least in opposition, that waiting lists were an incredibly important thing to take notice of. Obviously, Mr Berry believed that. He is on the record as suggesting that waiting lists are one of the best indicators. I must say, to come to Mr Humphries's defence, that, if they exploded under Mr Humphries's ministry, then they Mururoaed under those opposite.
Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Far be it from me to try to deny Mrs Carnell the opportunity to make these points; but, if she does want to, could I suggest that you insist that she write a different question for her backbencher. This answer is not relevant to the question that she has given him.
MR SPEAKER: I must say that the question sought details about waiting lists. I am sure that you are coming to the answer to the member's question, Mrs Carnell.
MRS CARNELL: It was on waiting lists. I am certainly setting the scene for my answer. Unlike Mr Connolly and Mr Berry, we do not shy away from the fact that waiting lists are at an unacceptably high level. Waiting lists are simply too long and our waiting times are inappropriate. I agree that our waiting times are inappropriate. We are doing something about that. Earlier this year I announced that the Government would allocate an extra $2m to provide for additional elective surgery. This money is being targeted at patients who are in most need of surgery or who have been waiting for inappropriately long times. Due to the well-publicised shortage of theatre nurses, it was not possible to immediately increase the throughput at Woden Valley Hospital.