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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1518 ..

Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 13 of 1997

MR QUINLAN (6.10): Mr Speaker, I present Public Accounts Committee Report No. 6 of the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 13, 1997 - Management of Nursing Services", together with a copy of extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

The main findings of this report, Mr Speaker, were that the costs of nursing services in the Canberra Hospital are adversely affected by the method of management and lack of planning of clinical services; that there is potential for a $2m saving from organisational improvements; that a significant amount of the additional costs of nursing in the hospital is a function of low staff turnover, leading to a higher proportion of nurses on top salary rates and a lower proportion of enrolled or registered nurses; and that sick leave taken by nurses in the ACT is well above interstate averages and there is a need for management of unproductive time, including leave and special leave.

The committee considered comment offered by the Minister on the audit. The outcome is that the committee believes there is a need for effective overall management of nursing resources and the committee recommends that evidence of claimed improvements that are supposedly under way be brought to the Assembly. The committee also recommends that the Assembly be informed on progress in completing a strategic plan for health services to the year 2005.

To some extent, this report is at odds with some of the recent claims in relation to nursing staff numbers. Disturbingly, the report notes that a very high level of sick leave is taken, which to some extent may be an indicator of low morale, but that on the other hand there is a very low turnover of nurses. I think it is well worth the Minister looking through this report and acting upon it. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Implementation of Variation No. 64 to the Territory Plan - Statement by Chair

MR HIRD: Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to inform the parliament that on 10 July this year the Standing Committee on Urban Services resolved to monitor the manner in which variation No. 64 to the Territory Plan is implemented, especially in relation to Aranda and Latham shopping centres. Further, it was agreed that we should advise the parliament of this decision.

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