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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 439 ..


Motion (by Mr Smyth ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Canberra Hospital-equipment

MR BERRY (6.02): Mr Speaker, I want to briefly raise an issue that has been brought to my attention by a constituent of mine who had to receive some fairly detailed surgery to an arm and which involved the arm being placed in a cast for a time. It was fitted with one of the high-tech, light-weight casts made, I think, from Goretex, Kevlar or some high-tech fibre used for these sorts of processes. In any event, the cast turned out to be inappropriate for some reason. There was some effect on the circulation that caused this person to go to Accident and Emergency at Canberra Hospital.

The cast was removed and a new plaster cast was put on which, of course, weighs a kilo or so. Whatever such casts weigh, they are significantly heavier than the lightweight ones. My constituent asked, "Well, why can't I have a lightweight one?" The answer was: "Because we don't do them here. If you want a lightweight one you have to make an appointment with one of the orthopaedic surgeons to have a lightweight one fitted in their private rooms."

I found it somewhat surprising that in our high-tech public hospital system we are unable to provide what is really a routine support for these sorts of cases. It struck me as quite odd that our Canberra Medical School, with all of its facilities, could not provide this sort of a cast. It led me to the belief that this push out into the private sector of as many activities as possible has led to a situation where patients receive second best in the public hospital system and are then forced to go out and pay dearly for a service in the private sector which should be available within the public system.

I make that point. I hope the health minister has a look at what I have said. I would like to hear a response in relation to this because I do not think it is good enough that a cast that is available generally should not be available in our public hospital system for public patients.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 6.05 pm

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