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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1071 ..

Canberra Hospital - Outpatient Services

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I have a question because of the Labor Party's commitment to patient care, client care and customer care.

Ms Carnell: It didn't work when you were in government.

MR HARGREAVES: Yes, it did. It did work when we were in government. Mr Speaker, I ask the question of the Minister for Health and Community Care. Last Wednesday, Canberra Hospital's CEO, Ted Rayment, announced several initiatives aimed at containing the hospital's projected $10m overrun. Among those is a review of outpatient services in which privatisation of the service is an option. Does the Minister agree with Dr Peter Collignon, president of the ACT Salaried Medical Officers Federation, who said in the Canberra Times of 24 March that pursuing this option would make it difficult for medical staff to follow up their patients, leave patients out of pocket, downgrade the level of service and contribute to a cost-shifting exercise from the Territory to the Commonwealth?

MR MOORE: On this issue and many other issues I do not agree with Dr Collignon. Dr Collignon's interest, apart from his medical practice, in his role with ASMOF is primarily to look after the interests of his members. He is entitled to do that and his response there is about the interests of his members. Our interest is in patient care, our client care and customer care. That is what we are putting as priority one and that is why it is that I do not agree with him.

Mr Stanhope: Are you saying that he doesn't care? That is pretty rough.

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. Can the Minister say who will be conducting the review, how much will it cost, and when it will report?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I shall take that part of the question on notice. Just to clarify my comment about Dr Collignon, whom I respect as a very good doctor, in his role in his area, which is not to do with this area, I am sure that he puts his patients as priority one. I am not in any way being critical of Dr Collignon in those terms. What I actually said was that in his role with ASMOF he has to look after his members; that is what he is there for. On those issues, I disagree with him. I just want to make sure that in no way did I denigrate Dr Collignon and I do not intend to. I know that he is a very good doctor, and I do not mind saying that, within his area. But in this respect he is talking about his members and the interests of his members. What we are interested in here is the interests of the patients. That is what we are going to put first.

Community Safety Grants Program

MR WOOD: My question is to Mr Humphries and relates to the community safety grants program. Minister, on 23 March, in answer to a question from my colleague Mr Quinlan, you said that you had not been convinced that there was a satisfactory level of benefit to the community for the Government to proceed with funding for recommended community safety grants for 1999 and that you had asked for further work

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