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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2253 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Why is it then, minister, that outpatients services at the two Canberra public hospitals will rise by less than one extra patient service per day, or 350 for the year? Why is it that, despite the substantial injection of funds that you have put into the system, there is virtually no improvement in patient care?

MR STANHOPE: Well, that is a rather long bow to suggest that there has been no improvement in patient care. It's a nonsense in fact. Certainly there has been a dramatic increase in emergency medical and surgery patients at the Calvary Hospital, as the member has just indicated. In fact, there has been an increase of 7 per cent at Calvary compared to last year.

There has been a commensurate drop at the Canberra Hospital, I think of around about 4.5 per cent, which is interesting in terms of the development of the community. Calvary Hospital is certainly increasing its output most significantly, particularly with the development of Gungahlin-to the extent that, as I understand it, Calvary dealt with 45,000 outpatients over the last year compared to 50,000 at the Canberra Hospital.

So it really is particularly interesting to see the extent to which the work of the respective emergency departments is merging. As a result of the increased activity in Calvary Hospital, I received advice just a few weeks ago that the department was pleased to inject an additional $1.74 million into the Calvary Public Hospital to enable that record level of elective surgery to be provided in 2001-02.

We did respond to the enormous amount of work and the productivity at Calvary Hospital by providing it just recently with an additional $1.74 million, and it was able to continue the absolutely fantastic work that it is doing at a very high level, and ensuring a very significant level of health service to the people of the ACT.

I think that is what I find offensive about your question, Mr Smyth-the suggestion that Canberrans that attend at our public hospitals don't receive the fantastic level of service that they do. We have provided additional funding in the budget and, of course, Calvary also received $3.6 million from the critical and urgent treatment scheme, so it received $3.6 million worth of funding in 2001-02 from that particular scheme as well.

It is also relevant, I think, that we just dwell on the circumstances that we inherited from the previous government in relation to health care delivery in the ACT.

Mr Humphries: Can you answer the question first?

MR STANHOPE: Well, I am answering the question. You are talking about an injection of $300,000 into Calvary and a diminution of health care standards and services for the people of Canberra. Let it be said that we have injected an additional $36 million through this budget into the health system in the ACT-a massive increase in support for the people of Canberra. This is a government that has taken its promises to the people of Canberra seriously. It was on the basis of the promises we made in relation to health, education and planning that we succeeded to the extent that we did in the election.

That is why we received the record vote which we received just eight months ago at the last election. That's why there was a 16 per cent swing against you-and just have a think about how many people that represents. Just think about the number of

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