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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1069 ..

MR BERRY: It is not abundantly clear yet. Minister, would you deny Dr Cumpston's suggestion that anaesthetic and intensive care services have been allowed to run down in favour of privately-provided services in order to transfer the cost to patients, as part of your publicly-acknowledged penny-pinching approach to cost cutting in health? When you say, as you just did, that you give priority to patients, does that mean that you give priority to patients' wallets?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, it is a good opportunity for me to say to members that at one stage, in response to a comment from, I think, Dr Collignon in his role as head of ASMOF, I said that penny-pinching was the name of the game. In fact, I used the word very poorly because penny-pinching is not what I actually meant. Being wise with the way we spend was what I meant. I apologise to the community for that. As many of you will have read, I was taken to task over that issue in an editorial by the Canberra Times.

I would also add, Mr Berry, that this was not a penny-pinching approach. This approach that I have described carefully for you was one about patient care. It was about client care. It was about customer care. We asked the college of intensivists to nominate two intensivists to come and review the intensive care unit, the high dependency unit and the critical care unit beds at the Canberra Hospital to determine what is the best way to deliver the best possible service for the people of Canberra - not the best possible service for the doctors, not the best possible service for the nurses. Of course we have to work to keep them happy because the best possible service that we are interested in is one that delivers the best - - -

Mr Berry: I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Moore may not have heard my question in relation to the transfer of the costs to the private sector - - -

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Berry. I have no doubt that Mr Moore heard your question.

Mr Berry: I wish he would answer the question, then.

MR SPEAKER: He is answering it as he sees fit. How many times do I have to say that?

Mr Berry: I suppose I will have to consider a censure motion or something for not answering the question.

MR MOORE: Mr Berry mentions raising a censure motion, Mr Speaker. It is his prerogative to put up a censure motion, but I would argue to members of the Assembly that I am answering this question, as I always do, as carefully as I can in order to explain to you the full situation. The full situation is that we are putting patient care as our first priority. I am saying to you that we have done all these things that I have just outlined to members to ensure that we can get the best possible intensive care unit services and the best possible services in the high dependency unit and the critical care unit for the people of the ACT, and we will continue to work in that way. I must say that I am absolutely delighted, tickled pink, with the work that Mr Rayment has been doing at the hospital to achieve the sorts of changes that he has been achieving to get the best possible services for our patients, for the people of the ACT, because that is what we are on about.

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