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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2806 ..

Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 6 of 1997 -
Government Response

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (3.48): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio Public Accounts Committee Report No. 4, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 6, 1997 - The Canberra Hospital Management - Control of Salaried Specialists' Private Practice", which was presented to the Assembly on 27 August 1998. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

The committee's report made two specific recommendations. The first recommendation sought information on the efficacy of measures to guarantee that salaried specialists comply with the terms and conditions of their private practice agreements, and the extent of compliance by specialists; a strategy to address inadequate management controls; the effectiveness of the coordinator of private practice arrangements in monitoring specialists' leave entitlements, the current leave profile and the extent to which, if at all, the practice of some specialists in taking leave to supplement their time in outside private practice continues; and the present position with regard to the review of charging for the use of hospital facilities and resources for private practice, including whether a strategy on fees was included in the enterprise agreement.

The committee's final recommendation sought an assurance from me to this Assembly that the lack of control over leave arrangements identified by the Auditor-General has been addressed.

Mr Speaker, the Government has now considered the standing committee's report, together with its recommendations. I am therefore now pleased to be able to table the government response. The government response addresses each of the recommendations made by the standing committee. Mr Speaker, I will briefly summarise some of these points.

In relation to the standing committee's second recommendation, I wish to point out that the approval for specialists to utilise leave entitlements for outside private practice is not supported or approved by the Government. All specialists with excess leave accumulations have been advised that wherever possible leave should be taken annually. An annual review of leave accumulations will be undertaken and appropriate action taken if unexplained excesses continue. Mr Speaker, the strict adherence to the completion of leave applications and the monitoring of these applications have, in my opinion, resolved the issue of specialists taking leave to supplement their time in outside private practice.

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