Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2172 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I informed members last week that double-counting had occurred between November 1993 and December 1994 and that a total of 3,749 phantom operations had been included in official statistics but had not actually occurred. That was the information provided to me by my officials last week. In fact, I may have inadvertently misled members because it appears that double-counting has gone on for much longer than I was aware of last week. In fact, the number of phantom operations may be many times higher than 3,749.
MrSpeaker, it was brought to my attention last night that further investigation at the hospital has revealed that double-counting of day surgery goes back to at least May 1993, and possibly much further. It is possible that it may go back as far as mid-1991 when, coincidentally, the Labor Party returned to office and Mr Berry returned to the health portfolio. The actual number of phantom operations conducted is almost impossible to put a precise figure on at this moment. Certainly, an additional 1,062 phantom operations have now been uncovered, bringing the total to date to 4,811, but it may well be much higher. Coincidentally, this is higher than the total elective waiting list of 4,449 when Mr Berry was relieved of the Health ministry in April 1994. Officials at the hospital are continuing to investigate this matter and I will keep members informed of the progress.
I also want to place on record my thanks to Mr Berry who has pursued this matter doggedly over the last few weeks despite considerable personal embarrassment. It really must have caused him real embarrassment. It is with the help of Mr Berry that much of this information is now coming to light. I would also like to note that these detailed surgery figures - I think there was some discussion about when they had actually been published - have been published on a monthly basis since April 1992, in contrast with the impression that Mr Berry gave this place last week when he suggested that they had not been published during his time as Health Minister.
MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I would also like to answer a question that Ms Tucker asked yesterday in the house in relation to general practitioners in health centres. There are seven general practitioners currently working in health centres. Three of them provide 100 per cent bulk-billing, while four bulk-bill clients who hold pensioner and health care cards. At Phillip Health Centre two doctors bulk-bill clients who hold pensioner and health care cards, while at Narrabundah Health Centre one doctor 100 per cent bulk-bills. On the north side, at Dickson Health Centre, one doctor provides 100 per cent bulk-billing, and at Kippax Health Centre two doctors bulk-bill pensioners and health care card holders and one doctor provides 100 per cent bulk-billing.