Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 212 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
For a start, the numbers change according to who is looking; for example, the diagnostic related groups that determine the costing of acute care. I understand that patient data does not capture all the cost of the respective care for patients from New South Wales. Are these funds fully captured by the hospital? This is coupled with a problem in billing. I noticed in the Canberra Times today that the costing of renal services is also criticised. Perhaps, rather than lengthy industrial disputes, the Minister could set a priority to recover all the moneys owing to the hospital by ensuring that they have systems that can cope with the information that is required. We see the obsession with benchmarking leading to a race to the bottom, to the lowest common denominator.
The Government also has a clear industrial agenda which is totally unacceptable to the Greens. Mr Moore said that he was interested in having people working together. I do not believe that his approach has facilitated that. Mr Moore was more than happy to spend six months on all I can term as a game, engaging in more ideology by testing the water with the new Federal industrial relations legislation, a union-busting exercise. This ideological push continues with the insistence of the Minister to have three enterprise agreements - one for Canberra Hospital, one for Calvary Hospital and one for the community sector. What is the point of dividing staff under different agreements? Where is the flexibility and optimum output potential? The flexibility seems to be totally for Mr Moore and the Government to re-engineer services which would allow for future privatisation. It also seems evident that the various areas of health are not acting in a complementary way; rather as competing fiefdoms: More ideology and a greater push to privatise profits and socialise losses.
Where was the assessment of patient need and quality of care during this protracted industrial dispute? Where are the priorities for Mr Moore to intervene in the day-to-day running of hospital management? The obvious conclusion is that health professionals that have often dedicated their life to the care of patients are somehow incapable or untrustworthy. It seems to me that there is a trend in this Government's approach generally to control and intimidate workers. I noticed in the newsletter of the Education Department an item where employees were chastised for using email for personal messages and that managers would possibly check employees' email. I also believe that there has been talk of phone numbers rung by employees being of interest to managers.
It is amazing to me that anyone with management expertise could think that that is a constructive workplace approach or would lead to positive outcomes. If managers want loyal and committed people working with them, they need to show respect and to be inclusive in their processes, not to try to turn organisations into empires of control and intimidation. Obviously, in times of high unemployment, these tactics may create fear and, therefore, cooperation from employees, but overall the culture of the organisation has to suffer and therefore outcomes. Is Mr Moore qualified to assess how patients fare when the demands of serving the Minister conflict with other priorities?
In terms of the budget blow-out and the waiting list increase, I support this motion because we do need to hear more explanation from Mr Moore about what is going on. I did appreciate hearing from him this morning on this matter; so, this motion has been useful already because it has allowed us to have that discussion. I recognise that