Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2087 ..
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Moore. Over the last few months we have seen an increase in problems reported in respect of our hospitals - repeated cases of hospitals in bypass mode, cancelled operations, people being sent home, growing waiting lists, insufficient staff leading to industrial disputes and privatisation. We have seen intensive care effectively closed and a miffed Minister attacking anyone who dares to question his version of events. Minister, is it true that, in this climate, the head of a hospital has been given permission to carry on outside work?
MR MOORE: Thank you for the question, Mr Berry. Within about a week of my becoming Minister for Health there was a note from the chief executive officer of the hospital to me containing a request by him to be part of a consultative body that sometimes provides assistance and advice to people, particularly in South-East Asia, about medical facilities, saying that if he actually provided that advice he would come back to me and inform me. I was asked whether, in principle, I supported that. In fact, I did support it, because I thought it was an honour to him and an honour to the hospital that that sort of advice would be sought. He has not requested specifically to do any of that work in the intervening period. I understand that Mr Johnston is on a couple of boards, although I would have to verify that. If you indicate in your supplementary question that you want information like that, I will be happy to get it for you. Other than that, I am not aware of any outside work of the chief executive officer.
Let me say that there is one other issue. It is quite common for a chief executive officer of a hospital to do a consultancy for another hospital if there is a requirement for it. In fact, I have discussed with Mr Johnston in the last couple of days the possibility of asking a chief executive officer from another hospital to come and assist us in looking at how nursing is dealt with in the ACT as one possibility. I do not think that that will actually come about, but it indicates that this is not an uncommon practice. It is about people learning from each other. I am not aware of a specific consultancy. I would be happy to inform the house tomorrow if there were something.
MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question. Will the Minister rule out that he has attempted to terminate the employment of the head of the hospital? I would like him to think about that question very carefully. Would he rule out that he has attempted to terminate the employment of the head of the hospital?
Ms Carnell: What has that got to do with the question?
MR BERRY: Will you rule it out? Will you rule it out?
MR SPEAKER: One moment, please. That could very well be a hypothetical question.
MR BERRY: No, it is not. It is a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Will the Minister rule it out?