Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1771 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
perhaps have had head injuries, people with MS who are mobile, some orthopaedic rehabilitation people and perhaps people with chronic back problems. They are the sorts of people we are talking about. They can use public transport and ought to be using public transport or private transport, but not at a cost to the system.
I consider that the answer to the question that I took on notice, as well as the answer to your question today, has now been delivered. I do not know the particular individual who identified this saving, but I say congratulations. The significant savings in this area, a quarter of a million dollars, is money we can spend on health care elsewhere. We can also improve the system for the individuals who need help. We are focusing on individuals who need help. They can call a taxi and the cost will be met by the hospital. It is clearly a much more efficient system. It is clearly a much more sensible system. I think it is something that the person responsible ought to be congratulated for. There will be some unhappy people because they now will have to use public transport whereas before they were picked up from their door. I can see that, but our health care dollars are valuable and need to be spent where they are needed most.
MR HARGREAVES: I ask a supplementary question. The Minister did not answer the question. I asked him whether the buses to be provided in the new system were going to have the same services. A simple no would have sufficed, but I will have to wait for that, I suppose. My supplementary question is: How much do patients pay for the transport they are currently receiving? Will that change with the new regime? Can the Minister confirm that the new routes for such patients include a pick-up in the suburbs en route to interchanges?
Ms Carnell: He answered that.
MR HARGREAVES: Do you want me to stop for a little while, Chief Minister?
Ms Carnell: No. I just said he had already answered that.
MR HARGREAVES: Thank you. Can the Minister confirm that the new routes for such patients include a pick-up in the suburbs en route to interchanges? Can he confirm that the proposed routes are Belconnen interchange, Calvary Hospital, Civic interchange, John James Hospital, Canberra Hospital and Woden but not Tuggeranong? My information is that they exclude Tuggeranong, and I would like to know about that.
MR MOORE: I think that I gave you an answer different to the information you have been provided with. I said that the proposal is to provide a new system which will have some people using a standard bus service. The standard bus service goes through every suburb and goes through Tuggeranong interchange. Some people will be provided with taxi vouchers. That is even better, because they will not have to worry about an interchange or being in the suburbs somewhere. They will actually come to the person's door and pick them up in a taxi. This is a greatly improved service as well as a saving. It will give us significant savings which we can spend elsewhere in health care.