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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3039 ..

Woden Valley Hospital - Radiology Services

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister as Minister for Health. On a number of occasions over the last year I have raised with you the issue of radiologists at Woden Valley Hospital. As my memory serves me, Chief Minister, I raised the same issue in an informal way with previous Ministers for Health. I have received a number of anonymous letters, as well as a signed letter, about inappropriate use of facilities at Woden Valley Hospital. Some weeks ago, when I indicated that I would be asking a question of you on this matter, you asked me to delay my question. You suggested that I delay it because you were awaiting a report. This is the last day of sitting for this year. Have you received that report and what issues of concern does it raise, if indeed it does raise issues of concern?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Moore. I alluded to this problem when I answered a question from Mr Connolly in the last few weeks. Mr Speaker, recently I received information about certain practices that were alleged to be occurring in radiology at Woden Valley Hospital. These allegations related to alleged conflict of interest and poor work practices. I viewed these allegations with the utmost seriousness and immediately referred them to the Department of Health and Community Care. A preliminary audit was commenced under the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act that was passed by this Assembly last year. After receiving a preliminary report earlier this week, I can advise the Assembly that the department has referred these matters to the ACT Government Solicitor's Office for advice. I will also be meeting with the new chief executive of Woden Valley Hospital and the department to discuss the implications of this audit report.

Mr Speaker, without wishing to prejudice the outcome of any further inquiries that may be needed, I am concerned that this preliminary audit report identified a number of matters related to work practices which require further investigation and advice. At this time, therefore, I believe it would be inappropriate for me to discuss this incident, or these incidents, in greater detail. I believe that more investigations will be required, and I reiterate to all members that I am treating this issue with the utmost seriousness. This Government is - - -

Mr Berry: So all is not going smoothly.

MRS CARNELL: It is not the VMOs. This Government is committed to major reform of our public hospital system to ensure that the maximum number of our health dollars go towards patients. We simply cannot afford to have any part of our hospital not run as efficiently and as effectively as is humanly possible. Where we have management practices that are not up to scratch, where there appear to be problems in an area like this, we will act, and we will act decisively.

MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, can you give us an estimate of how much money has been lost, say, over the last year, or whichever period you like? Can you also indicate to us whether any charges are likely to be laid as an outcome of this report?

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