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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1517 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Other recommendations call for the Minister to assure the Assembly that other shortcomings identified by the audit are addressed. This is, I am sure, a matter that has been discussed many times in this Assembly over the last few years. We have a new Minister. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 8 of 1997

MR QUINLAN (6.07): Mr Speaker, I present Public Accounts Committee Report No. 5 of the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 8, 1997 - Salaried Specialists' Use of Private Practice Privileges", together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, within this report, the main audit findings were that about a third of specialists practise externally but management does not know whether the time used is made up; that the hospital is constrained in effectively using many specialists because the old scheme for salaried specialists in private practice is rather loose and makes it difficult to manage the specialists' time; that management has not addressed inefficiencies in radiology services; and that productivity gains were not negotiated in the enterprise bargaining agreement made with salaried specialists.

The committee considered comment offered by the Minister of the time on the audit findings. Although the committee recognised that management of salaried specialists is complex, unresolved dispute between hospital management and the Audit Office on findings is of concern. The hospital is a major consumer of public funds, and it is vital that there be confidence in the integrity of management and the monitoring systems. Accordingly, the committee recommended that the Assembly be informed when these issues have been resolved.

The committee also recommended that the Assembly be informed on outcomes of various agreements and measures to be introduced as a result of the audit. In addition, the committee recommended that the Assembly be advised on what has been done to improve productivity within the imaging department. One of the recommendations also touched on the phasing out of the original salaried specialists agreement, which is so difficult to manage.

The committee appreciates that we have a new Minister who has committed himself to a lot of very hard work in this particular area. We wish him luck. Thank you, Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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