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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 752 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

very hard for a significant extra amount of dollars to go to Queensland because they are a low taxing State at this stage. The unfortunate part for the rest of us is that if that money were to go to Queensland it would be at our expense. So I would be very negative about quoting Queensland figures that are aimed at nothing else but to undermine funding to the ACT.

Public Hospital Beds

MR WOOD: My question is to Michael Moore, the Health Minister, and it follows on from a question yesterday about bed numbers in the hospital. After question time yesterday the Chief Minister offered an explanation for the Government's abandonment of its 1995 commitment to establish 1,000 public hospital beds in Canberra by the end of this year. The Chief Minister offered as one explanation the fact that the amount of day surgery, for example, gall bladder operations, had, in her words, "significantly increased". Given the Chief Minister's assertion, can the Minister explain why the January patient activity statistics from Canberra Hospital - that is, this year - show a 42 per cent drop in day surgery over the same period last year?

MR MOORE: I am glad to see you are reading those bulletins, Mr Wood, that we make readily available to you so that you can see the figures.

Mr Stanhope: That is very kind of you.

MR MOORE: It is open government. I just remind you that the Labor Government was very reluctant to do it. It had to be forced into doing it. I might just also say that there is no government in Australia that provides the sort of information that we do. That is something that they should be embarrassed about, not us. I hope when you are Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, in due time, that you will do the same thing.

Mr Wood, it is a great disappointment to me that in January there was a reduction in the day surgery. It does not take away from what the Chief Minister said - that since 1994 there has been a significant increase in the amount of day surgery. As I see it, the figures have dropped. That does concern us. One of the reasons for that is the transfer of dental work to Calvary. That accounts for a large part of the day surgery. We still have to make sure that there is an emphasis on day surgery because we know that by keeping the emphasis there we can more effectively deal with a large number of people. It is something that we should be improving on through our efforts.

There have also been a number of administrative problems in dealing with theatres that have had some impact at times, as I understand it from a briefing that I had from the head of the surgical SMT. Mr Wood, we will be working to ensure that we can do our best to increase our efforts at day surgery. It is important to look at the categories to see where we are achieving and where we are not, and what has been transferred between one hospital and another.

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