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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3647 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

We ask the Government to watch bed numbers. We note the reduction over a period in bed numbers and we urge that not jeopardise patient throughput. There would, inevitably at some stage, be a relationship between reducing bed numbers and patient throughput. We also ask the Government to look at theatres. This is a key area and we need to be sure that theatres in our hospitals are fully utilised. I understand the Minister has taken steps in recent times to see if more efficient use can be made of those theatres.

There is a further recommendation, among others, that we would ask the Minister to consider - that surgery not clinically required may perhaps be removed from the public sector. That may be done in private systems. That would have some impact on waiting lists and times. Maybe that ought to be considered. We did not explore that issue all that closely, but on the surface there appear to be reasons that some surgery should not be carried out in the public system and at the expense, perhaps, of other people with greater need - with a real clinical need as against a social need. We look forward to continuing advice that comes in, in the way that it does in those reports that we get tonight, and in the lists of specialists and their waiting times. We look for continuing reports in the future on measures being taken to reduce those waiting times. We commend the report to the Assembly and to the attention of the Government.

Debate (on motion by Mr Moore) adjourned.


MS TUCKER: I would like to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MS TUCKER: There are a couple of comments in the previous debate to which I need to respond. The first was from the Chief Minister. I need to put on the record how much information I had when I made and issued statements about the coroner's report. A member of my staff attended the court when the coroner presented his findings. It is true we were not able to obtain a copy of the report immediately. When my adviser told me about that, I contacted the magistrate and arranged a copy immediately. My adviser collected it. We already had the advantage of my adviser having listened to the coroner. We had time to look at those findings and relevant supporting material in the report.

In addition, the inquest had been the subject of extensive media coverage over the last two years. Much of this factual information was already in the public domain. I realise it is a distraction, an attempt to distract from the major issues by the Government. While I respect the right of Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke not to have followed up that report as quickly as I did, and not to have made a public comment as quickly as I did, I do not think it is useful for people to try establish lack of credibility because we chose to act more quickly.

The other matter: I apologise if I did not hear Mr Moore correctly. I think what he said I had said was that I would support any no-confidence motion regardless, because I did not like this Government. Mr Moore knows as well as anyone that the Greens are very

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