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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1535 ..

Ms McRae: Have you got a problem with me today, Mrs Carnell? Come on! I am in a good mood, for a change. Be nice to me.

MRS CARNELL: I am just interested that you are sitting there and cackling.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister is answering Ms Follett's question.


MR SPEAKER: Fully - thank you - and I believe that we should all be listening.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as I made the point, better usage of our rostering can mean that, instead of having to close down our theatres for two hours each lunchtime, we will be able to continue operating. That costs us a lot, both in patient care terms and financially, because if one operation finishes at, say, 11 o'clock and the next operation is likely to take longer than an hour that operation simply does not go ahead under the current system. The patient is shoved off back to the ward to be rescheduled. That obviously is not good for the patient and definitely is not good from a financial perspective. With a much better approach and much better usage of the overlap of the 10 by 8 by 8 roster from a staff training perspective and utilising our theatre time much more efficiently, we believe and the nurses believe that we can both improve the cost-effectiveness of treating patients and improve the professionalism of the nurses involved by improving training, the costs of training and certainly the whole focus of our hospital on patient care.

MS FOLLETT: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I think Mrs Carnell missed the thrust of my question, so I will rephrase it slightly. What impact will the changed agreement have on the situation that you have often complained about, of the ACT's costs being 30 per cent above the national benchmark, and/or what will be the savings arising from the new agreement?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am surprised that Ms Follett would perceive that an enterprise bargaining agreement was about saving money. It certainly was not, from our point of view. In fact, the increased efficiencies that are part of the enterprise bargaining agreement with regard to the ANF are being shared and are predominantly going back to the nurses involved, as they should. I am not sure which agreement Ms Follett is referring to. I assume that it is the agreement on the triple-eight rosters. As I have already explained, there are a number of parts to that agreement which will provide quite substantial financial improvements to the hospital system while looking after the professionalism and the quality of life of the nurses. I think we should be really quite proud of this agreement.

Mr Berry: Carnell backs down again.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Berry says - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! No, Mr Berry did not say anything. Mr Berry interjected, and we will not be answering interjections.

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