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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3823 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

But the decision has been made that we will cease providing the particular range of services we are providing at Narrabundah and Dickson at the end of this year. Over the holiday period the centres close for a period of time, and it is the current intention that through that transition process we will relocate aged day care services from Narrabundah and Dickson to Tuggeranong and Belconnen.

As I said before, there has been very significant consultation with the clients and with carers to seek to ease the level of anxiety that might exist and to assure everybody that the same level and range of services will be provided. We are looking for partnerships with other providers to see whether or not some of the services, particularly the respite-type services that are currently provided, might be provided through the community.

MR CORNWELL: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. You said, I think on 21 August, that a study was being made-

MR SPEAKER: Preamble, Mr Cornwell.

Mr Humphries: He's giving you one, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I don't need a preamble, and neither does anyone else.

MR CORNWELL: Could a copy of that study be made available? Is a study of the decision available for public consumption-like by me, please?

MR STANHOPE: I am more than happy to see what is available that I can provide, Mr Cornwell. As always in an open and transparent government such as ours, I will make it available.

Hospital waiting lists

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in the last edition of the Medical Journal of Australia, there was an article by Dr Drew Richardson, who is the head of emergency medicine at TCH, which shows that patients who wait in the emergency department for a long time can expect to have longer stays in hospital when they eventually get a bed. On ABC on 4 November, Dr Richardson said:

You'll get a vicious circle happening there if patients stay longer in hospital because they've been too long in the emergency department. Then they'll be taking a bed so there'll be less beds available for the next patient that comes along, so they'll be more likely to spend longer in the emergency department and so on.

You may be aware, Minister, of the website In September in its Month in Review, the site said that the emergency department staff were playing musical patients with people needing to get into hospital, and in the October Month in Review, the same nurses were saying that patients were having to wait till 6 pm on the following day from when they first visited the emergency department to get a bed in hospital.

Do you acknowledge, Minister, that the emergency department of Canberra Hospital faces a vicious circle such as the one described by Dr Richardson? If so, what concrete steps are you and your government taking to address these problems?

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