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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3022 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

There are two reasons why I have put this amendment forward. I believe that we need to have balance on the panel. The proposed panel comprises medical specialists. It has been my experience in the Department of Health, in both the community sector and the hospital sector, that nurses are every bit as well placed to be able to contribute to the development of this information as are medical specialists or, in fact, the chairs of the medical disciplines. I believe that in most cases these nurses are more closely in touch with what women's needs are than these, often remote, medical specialists.

I would also like to see some female representation on this panel. I note that the nursing profession is predominantly women. Paragraph (f) talks about women's health issues. I had in mind that the expertise this person would bring to the panel would be from the community sector. With women's health services, often that is the first point of referral for young girls of 16 or 17, that sort of age. I believe that the sensitivities these people have and their expertise in dealing with these sorts of people would be particularly advantageous to the panel. Paragraph (g) talks about a nurse from one of the hospitals. I do not really mind where the nurses come from. I do not have any objection to changes in that sense, as long as they have expertise at the community end and expertise at the neonatal end.

MR OSBORNE (2.33 am): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move together my two amendments.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I move:

Proposed paragraph (2)(f), omit all words after "registered", substitute "nurse, currently specialising in women's health issues, nominated by the Calvary Hospital Board; and".

Proposed paragraph (2)(g), omit "clinical nurse consultant", substitute "nurse".

This is a position that Mr Hargreaves, Mr Moore and I have come to on this issue. I must admit to being a little bit nervous about this panel getting bigger and bigger, because at the end of the day I think we all want a speedy outcome so that information can be out there. I take on board the concerns of Mr Hargreaves and I will be supporting his amendments in relation to the nurses, Mr Speaker.

Once again for the sake of balance, one of the amendments is to have one of the nurses come from Calvary. We had initially intended to have the neonatal nurse come from Calvary; but we consulted the Minister and Mrs Carnell, and it would appear that they do not have any. So we came up with this compromise, which has been agreed to by the Minister and Mr Hargreaves. I will be supporting Mr Hargreaves' amendment, with the two slight changes that I propose here, Mr Speaker.

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