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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2729 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

However, following discussions with Calvary Hospital in which staff indicated that they were able to do additional surgery, they have already been able to do so. On average, an additional 10 to 15 patients have been treated every week. As at 1 December, 174 extra patients had been treated. These patients were among the most urgent on Calvary's waiting lists. Discussions have also been held with a view to transferring to Calvary Hospital some of the patients listed at Woden Valley Hospital for surgery.

Shortly, the Government will be releasing a new waiting list management policy. This is the first time since self-government that such a document has been put together in consultation. I would like to have been able to release this waiting list policy much earlier; but, because we are a consultative government and because we needed to consult hospital staff, the medical profession and the other major players, it has taken some time to get all those people to agree to this policy direction. This is an agreed policy direction. The policy will clarify the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the management of elective surgery.

It is a major goal for this Government to reduce an unacceptably high waiting list and to ensure that patients are treated within clinically appropriate times; unlike what happened in the past. The reality is that waiting lists blew out under the previous Government by 21/2 times. Most importantly, what happened was that people ended up waiting longer and longer for essential surgery. Since I came to government, waiting lists increased by 46, that is, one per cent, to the end of October. That compares with an increase of 250 per cent under the previous Government. I do not think that an increase of 46, or one per cent, is acceptable; so, we put in place a $2m program to overcome that problem. We have already treated 174 extra people. We are succeeding.

Ms Follett: The Minister might have finished, but I was going to say that there is a question on this on the notice paper. Therefore, the response is out of order.

Mrs Carnell: On how many people have been treated at Calvary?

Ms Follett: No.

MR SPEAKER: Which question, Ms Follett?

Ms Follett: It is on waiting lists and the matter of new management.

Mrs Carnell: I did not talk about that.

Ms Follett: Yes, you did.

Mrs Carnell: I said that we were releasing one shortly.

Ms Follett: Do not tell me that black is white - tell them that black is white - because I do not believe you.

MR SPEAKER: Is it No. 128, Ms Follett?

Ms Follett: Yes.

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