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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2703 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The hospital's internal budgeting process has allocated to the medical oncology division of the medical SMT an increased budget of some 5 per cent, from $3.305m to $3.471m, or, if you like, an increase of about $166,000. It is understood that efficiencies are being found in restructuring the secretarial services of the unit so as to protect clinical expenditures. There is a possibility that this may have had some adverse effect on appointment scheduling in the particular patient's case. I hope you are terribly embarrassed by this, Mr Stanhope, having been in the media today. Claiming a reduction of $270,000 or 20 per cent is simply incorrect.

I do not come into this chamber lightly and say that something is incorrect. My advice is very clear on this matter: In the particular area of medical oncology there is a significant increase of 5 per cent and we have seen an increase, not just against what we have budgeted but against actual expenditure. That is the advice that I have. If you would like to put out another press release saying, "Sorry, I was wrong", then that would enhance my respect for you.

MR STANHOPE: I have a supplementary question. I do hope, in the context of this issue, that the Minister does find himself able to meet with this particular cancer sufferer at some time as requested by the person. Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is this: Can the Minister advise the Assembly of the attempts he made to prioritise the budget saving cuts made to hospital services, or were the cuts to services simply across the board pursuant to a slash and burn approach?

MR MOORE: I am flabbergasted, Mr Speaker and members. This is yet another mistake. I just explained to Mr Stanhope that there was no cut.

Mr Stanhope: You have increased spending, have you?

MR MOORE: There was no cut.

Mr Stanhope: There are no cuts at the Canberra Hospital?

MR MOORE: There was no cut to the budget - - -

Mr Stanhope: Are there no cuts at the Canberra Hospital at all?

Mr Humphries: Not in oncology.

MR MOORE: There was no cut.

Mr Stanhope: That was not my supplementary question. Did you attempt to prioritise the cuts?

Ms Carnell: Well, if there were no cuts in oncology he must have.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Moore has the floor.

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