Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 683 ..

Mr Hargreaves: Why did he need to do that?

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not know. Ask Mr Palmer about that.

Mr Hargreaves: I intend to do just that.

MR HUMPHRIES: Good. Go right ahead and do it. But I put on the record very clearly, and I doubt that Mr Palmer would take a different view, privately or publicly, that the Government's desire to consider the question of separation as an issue has been before the Federal Police, including before Commissioner Palmer, and he has heard it from my lips directly and from the Chief Minister's lips through the Federal Minister for Justice.

Ms Carnell: Mr Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Public Hospital Beds

MS CARNELL: I have some further information with regard to the question in question time today about the Government's change of policy after 1995 with regard to the number of hospital beds. That happened quite a long time ago as a result of a quite significant change in direction in health generally. As members would be aware, Mr Berry as Health Minister actually closed 200 beds in our public hospital system, so it is very rich for those opposite to make any comments about bed numbers.

Mr Speaker, since 1995 when we came to government, we have changed our policy with regard to the number of beds, and the reason is quite clear. We decided to focus on state-of-the-art medical practice and hospital practice, which was to move more and quite significant resources into areas such as hospital in the home; in other words, to treat patients as often as possible in their homes rather than in hospital or, alternatively, move them out of hospital beds substantially quicker than would have been the case in the past. We started that program with trials in, particularly, the orthopaedic area with hip replacements, where initially patients would be in hospital for as much as three weeks. They are being moved out of hospital now in what can be just a number of days and are being treated at home. Similarly, we had the expansion of the midcall program for post-obstetric treatment.

We upgraded the aged care area at the hospital and changed our methodology for caring for older people, thus reducing average lengths of stay quite significantly and offering significantly greater support services within the home. With rehabilitation services, the same thing occurred with the building of the facility at Gaunt Place. We had a capacity to move people out of the beds at the hospital into a halfway house almost and then back to home in what was often a month's shorter timeframe.

Day surgery also was significantly increased. Where people were previously having, say, a gall bladder operation and being in hospital for a number of days, they were having gallstones and so on removed in what at times was straight day surgery and in other cases

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .