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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4253 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

Why have you allowed a delay, when you are relying on this report to tell you where to spend the $7 million slush fund from the budget? Why can you not give the Assembly a brief about the broad themes of the report, given that you have previously told the Assembly, "Ms Connors has provided a briefing to me on the broad theme she is looking at"?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I refer Mr Pratt to a All the submissions to the inquiry are on that website, along with all of the formal investigations Ms Connors has undertaken in relation to her inquiry.

Ms Connors has briefed all the stakeholders who made submissions to the inquiry on her potential future directions, and she has given a similar briefing to me.

Mr Speaker, perhaps the reason Mr Pratt does not have this information is because one, he does not know how to use the internet; or, two, he was too lazy to make a submission to the inquiry.

MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Minister, when did you know that Ms Connors could not meet the deadline imposed?

MR CORBELL: After you asked me the question.

Elective surgery waiting lists

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Stanhope. Can the Health Minister tell the Assembly the average length of time category 2 and 3 patients are currently spending on elective surgery waiting lists?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, at the moment, the average waiting time of category 2 patients is 120 days. It is relevant to note that, when this government took office, about 50 per cent of category 2 patients were waiting longer than the target of 90 days. That is that, when we took over a year ago, 50 per cent of category 2 patients were waiting longer than 120 days. Around 50 per cent of category 2 patients are still waiting longer than 90 days. That is the history. It has been thus probably for years.

It is interesting in any discussion around waiting times and waiting lists to reflect on just how intractable the waiting lists are, even with the efforts that successive governments have made. I repeat, Ms MacDonald, that, in relation to category 2, in response to your question, 50 per cent of category 2 patients wait longer than 120 days.

Mr Smyth has asked us, in the Liberal Party's policy on this, to believe that the Liberal Party expects that to be reduced to a situation where 98 per cent of category 2 patients should have their surgery within 90 days. This is the target Mr Smyth has set, and he wants that achieved by June 2004. He wants to move from a situation in which 50 per cent of category 2 patients receive their surgery within 90 days-the accepted target-to a position where 98 per cent of them do. That is an increase of 48 per cent over current numbers. Mr Smyth wants that to be achieved between now and June 2004.

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