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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 729 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

In the case of Calvary, we would then transfer such cases to the Canberra Hospital. In the case of the Canberra Hospital, where necessary we would transfer such cases by fixed-wing aircraft to other hospitals. Really, that is a summary of the meeting. I should say that we also identified the need to establish a group responsible for coordination, and that has been done. That group will be meeting tomorrow morning to make sure all details are in place.

I want to emphasise again, Mr Berry, that I am still hoping that this will not be necessary. There were no emergency roster arrangements. Perhaps it is important at this stage to remind you that the negotiations this time are very different from when you were doing it, because these are individual contracts that we are negotiating. As you know, last time you did not have the 20 doctors signed. Remember also, Mr Berry, that we have staff specialists and the Clinical School is established. So, on top of the 20 VMOs, we have staff specialists. That is why we think we are not going to be in the situation that you were in the last time that these negotiations were dealt with, and when Mrs Carnell was dealing with similar negotiations.

Mr Berry asked me about striking doctors and whether they will be able to deal with private patients when they are not dealing with public patients. They either have a contract - - -

Mr Berry: I used the word "boycotting".

MR MOORE: Boycotting. I apologise. The boycotting doctors. They either have a contract or they do not have a contract, and if they do not have a contract with the hospital they will not be able to practice in the hospital. There is one minor exception to that, and that is for cases where a patient is still in the doctor's care in the hospital. Of course, we will allow them to finish treating that particular patient. I am sure no member would disagree with that, and I would hope that no doctor would disagree with that approach.

Your final question, Mr Berry, was, "Will staff be stood down?". At this stage I am told there is no indication that there will be any need to stand down staff. I hope, even if the dispute does last some weeks, that there will be no need to stand down any staff. I believe there will be no need to stand down any staff; but, I must say, I cannot totally preclude it.

MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Will the Minister put in place arrangements under the interstate patient transfer assistance scheme, or whatever it is called these days, to ensure that carers are provided with the maximum support to attend any patients who have to go interstate for care, bearing in mind the need to put people at ease in these circumstances?

MR MOORE: That was a question that I asked last night and that will be part of the discussion. I should also point out that discussions went on between the chief executive of the Department of Health and his equivalents in New South Wales and Victoria, to make sure that the coordination is done properly. The question I asked last night was similar to yours: What happens to somebody's family if they are flown elsewhere by fixed-wing aircraft? The matter is being investigated in order to facilitate the carers being

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