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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1615 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Can the minister confirm that the Canberra Hospital has exceeded its contract with the government to provide health care services? Can he confirm that the hospital has provided more services than it was contracted, and paid, to provide? If so, what is the amount involved, and what steps have been taken to fund it.

Mr Speaker, the answer that I had prepared at the time is that the Canberra Hospital, at the end of March 2001, was overproviding cost-weighted inpatient separations against contracted amounts by approximately 3 per cent. This reflected growth in both the medical and the emergency surgery areas of the hospital. One of the main areas of growth in the medical area is cancer services. The department has agreed to provide an additional $460,000 to help fund the extra demand in that area.

The department and the Canberra Hospital have met to discuss the likely full year outcome of both the medical and emergency surgery services provided and the revenue available. The hospital realises its responsibilities to live within budget, as government funding is limited. There are options available to control costs and help manage demand, including greater use of the hospital in the home program and appropriate discharge policies, and the Canberra Hospital is examining them to ensure that it is making best use of available resources. Also, I mentioned nursing homes earlier.

In the 2000-01 contract, the Canberra Hospital was provided with a revenue target and it was agreed that the revenue raised beyond that could be kept by the hospital, but expenditure of the additional revenue must be agreed with the department. The department has asked that any additional revenue be directed to funding overprovision of inpatient services. The Canberra Hospital is currently estimating that it will exceed its revenue, though the extent to which is not clear. It has been agreed by the department and Canberra Hospital to keep a watching brief on the throughput and the revenue in the coming weeks. The Canberra Hospital is also estimating the additional surgical work that it will be doing in the final quarter of this year.

If the hospital and the department agree that there is a need for additional funding for this financial year, the department does have access to funds from the critical and urgent treatment scheme-CUTS-funding. Funding will not be from cross-border sources, as I mistakenly indicated in the Assembly in my response of 1 May, because it is focused on surgery. The increased funding from cross-border sources has been allocated for equipment, computer systems, performance incentives in the acute sector, increased Comcare premiums and disability services. CUTS funds were provided by the Commonwealth specifically to allow the ACT to address waiting list issues for elective surgery. It would be appropriate for additional funding to be provided for elective surgery this year through that fund, if deemed necessary.

Court order to return child to family

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, on 1 May 2000, Mr Rugendyke asked the Attorney-General a question in relation to an item in the Canberra Times on 1 May 2000 about the assault of a three-year-old girl within four days of her being ordered to be returned to her family by the ACT Supreme Court. The Attorney-General took the question on notice. The question happens to fall within my portfolio of responsibility and I have an answer to it.

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