Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1459 ..
MR QUINLAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. Can the Minister say whether it fits within the ambit of common practice for a director of intensive care at a public hospital to simultaneously assume the position of director of intensive care at a private hospital, as is the current practice, we understand, at the Canberra Hospital and the newly opened National Capital Private Hospital? Can this be justified?
MR MOORE: The relationship between the National Capital Private Hospital and the Canberra Hospital is quite interesting. A number of contractual arrangements in place cross a range of areas and facilities. For example, there is a contract whereby the National Capital Private Hospital is purchasing its pathology services from the Canberra Hospital. This is a good news story which I am sure will be reported widely in the media. It is a good news story about the Canberra Hospital. The Canberra Hospital's pathology services are of such a high standard that the National Capital Private Hospital, having the opportunity to buy such services from everywhere else, decided that they are going to get them from the group headed by Professor Herdson. There are a series of other arrangements between the National Capital Private Hospital and the Canberra Hospital. For example, quite a number of the surgeons that operate to the Canberra Hospital also operate to the National Capital Private Hospital. They include cardiac and a range of other surgeons.
To identify intensive care in particular is interesting. I am not personally aware of the exact contractual nature of that relationship. I do know that some concerns have been raised by the AMA about the relationship between the National Capital Private Hospital and the Canberra Hospital, and that is not surprising, because quite a number of the members of the AMA are also very involved in the John James Hospital, and some of the people at John James Hospital were not at all happy with the advent of the National Capital Private Hospital and having some competition. Nevertheless, that competition now exists and I believe matters will settle down.
I would draw Mr Quinlan's attention to the fact that having co-located private and public hospitals works very well. We have quite a number of examples of that. St Vincent's in Sydney is a good example. An even better example still is Calvary Hospital, where the private and public hospitals are actually in the very same building, on different floors, and where the theatres are shared between the private hospital and the public hospital and doctors work to both. It can be done, and I believe that it will operate effectively at Canberra Hospital and I believe that it will give a better health outcome for the people of Canberra.
I would like to make one final point on this, Mr Quinlan. When I tabled "Setting the Agenda" in the Assembly earlier this week, I was interested in demonstrating to members that we are interested in developing good cooperative partnerships right across the health sector. I do not mind whether that involves GPs in the private sector or a private hospital or public hospitals. Whatever it is, it is time for us to turn around the health system and get people working together, with the main focus being on the patient, the customer,