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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3061 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is also worth pointing out that what Mr Quinlan describes as the ministerial support budget actually includes departmental support to committees, and there has been an increasing amount of that departmental support to committees as well. So, when you ask me about ministerial support budgets, ask yourself what you are spending in that area at the same time.

Mr Quinlan: It is your committee.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, they are your committees.

Canberra Hospital - Renal Unit

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care, Mr Moore. I have forewarned him of this question. Minister, I recently received a courtesy copy of a letter sent to you, and I will briefly read it:

Dear Minister,

I have been prompted to write to you concerning the Renal Unit at the Canberra Hospital, initially because of disappointment that for the second time in two years my brother has been advised that he will be unable to dialyse at the Unit during the Christmas/New Year holiday period. He is 61 years old and lives alone in Sydney and must dialyse three times a week to survive. In order to have a break at all, even for a short time, it is necessary for a renal patient to apply three months in advance to another unit to request dialysis time. Although he applied at the correct time last year he was not able to be placed, and this year he applied much earlier and was advised before the end of August that he could not be accepted again because there was not even enough money to put on an extra shift and the staff was having trouble coping with the needs of local dialysis patients.

Minister, my question is this: Is it ever possible to make arrangements at the Canberra Hospital for relatives requiring dialysis during short stays? If so, what criteria and procedures are used in making arrangements? Finally, is the hospital properly coping with the needs of our local dialysis patients?

MR MOORE: I thank Mr Osborne for letting me know at the beginning of question time that he would be asking me that question. The dialysis service is currently functioning at capacity within its present resources, and that includes an increase in resources from the department to the hospital with regard to renal in the last budget round. I think it is worth making sure people understand that the Canberra Hospital does retain its capacity to treat emergency dialysis patients. So, when we are talking about emergencies, that capacity remains. But we have to remember that the dialysis service provided by and from the Canberra Hospital is the only dialysis service in the ACT and the surrounding region.

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