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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2352 ..

Mr Berry: It is different from the States.

MRS CARNELL: I agree that it is different from the States, and that is why it gives us a particular opportunity to be able to do this better than any State has done. Next year we will move - I expect that we will be one of the first States to do so - into a continuity of care trial which will, really for the first time, focus on a patient from before admission, all the way through their hospital stay, to being back in the community, and it will have that patient managed, not from within the hospital system but from outside the hospital system. I think that is a very big step in the right direction. This sort of structure really does allow those sorts of things to happen. Again, it means that we can have a structure that focuses on the patient and focuses on better health, rather than just focusing on how many patients we may or may not treat. I would have thought that particularly the Greens, who have made comments many times about wanting to have a health system that focuses on wellness rather than on sickness, would see that this sort of a structure is at least some step in that direction, by having a much broader approach to our management structure.

Mr Speaker, Mr Wood asked a question about the Health Advisory Council. A decision certainly has not been taken on that at this stage, so we will certainly have to talk to the members of that advisory council and see how they feel they might fit into this new structure, or, for that matter, not fit into this new structure. Mr Speaker, I think Mr Moore ran through the issues of an extra layer of management. It is not an extra layer of management, Mr Speaker. We have made it very clear that the lines of reporting are not from the board through the chief executive to the Minister, but straight to the Minister. There will not be any new administrative structures put in place to service the board. They are all there now, Mr Speaker. We believe that this approach will make that administrative structure, the support that the board will need, substantially cleaner than has been the case in the past. So, the cost of setting up this board - the administration is already there, and the costs of the four people on the board that we will be paying will vary between $6,504 and $11,136 a year - is not an enormous price to pay for the huge expertise that this board will bring to Health and Community Care in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, I would like to finish by saying that Health has been an ongoing weeping sore in this city ever since self-government. For people in this house to get up and say, "We do not think this is the answer. We do not know what the answer is", and for those opposite to say, "But we are not willing to let you have a go to try to solve the situation", is a real cop-out. At least Mr Moore and Mr Osborne have made it clear that they hold me, as Minister, responsible. I take that responsibility, totally. I think that is a very appropriate approach. They are willing to let me and the department make the changes that we need to make, to make the health system better for the future. I thank them for that support. I believe that it is the appropriate way to go.

Just to finish on one critical issue: The members of the board must be people who have adequate qualifications and the knowledge to be able to do this very difficult job. I think Mr Moore hit the nail on the head this morning when he spoke about representative boards - boards with a representative of this group, this group and this group. All you ever end up with under those circumstances is very large boards with very sectional interests that often cannot get on and manage as well as they should.

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