Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 666 ..
MR MOORE: The answer is yes. The commitment was made in 1995 and, of course, there has been an election since that time. I think that Mr Stanhope well knows that as things change, we go through another election, the commitments can be different. What we are trying to ensure is that we continue to increase throughput. I think that is the most important measure.
MR STANHOPE: I wonder, then, whether the Minister for Health and Community Care can tell us, acknowledging that 49 beds closed in the last year, whether he envisages closing any more beds in Canberra's public hospitals this year.
MR MOORE: I have not acknowledged that 49 beds closed. I do not have the exact number in front of me because there is a series of more important issues than whether the number of beds that you have in a particular hospital is the best measure of health services and health outcomes. When I first became Minister, when I released "Setting the Agenda", I said that the ideal situation is actually to have no hospital beds. That, of course, is ludicrous and everybody knows it. What we seek to do is to have a healthier community and have people taken care of in the community setting, where we know that people will be looked after better, where their health outcomes will be much better.
Mr Speaker, when new knowledge comes to people, when they go through another election, there are indeed different approaches. I made it very clear when I launched "Setting the Agenda" that we had a different approach to health.
Mr Corbell: Was that before or after the election?
MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope's comment on that at the time, Mr Corbell, was: "This could have been Labor Party policy". I took that as a compliment. I am very happy to have done something that happens to be, coincidentally, consistent with Labor Party policy, because it is the sensible way to deal with health. As you would know, "Setting the Agenda" makes it very clear that the Canberra Hospital as a teaching hospital has a very important, critical part within the whole health continuum, but that the emphasis that we need to put is on ensuring that we can deliver the best health outcomes right across the continuum. That is what I will continue to work to do. That may well mean a reduction in the number of beds in the hospital, as long as it means better outcomes in terms of health overall.
MR HIRD: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. Minister, has your attention been drawn to the latest issue of the ACT Teacher? Are you aware of the Australian Education Union's position on school amalgamations?
MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question, Mr Speaker. Yes, my attention was drawn to it yesterday and my office obtained a copy, as it does in due course, today. It was quite interesting reading. When I saw the current issue, I was somewhat surprised, perhaps, to see an article by no less than the secretary,