Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4275 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

He flies in the face of the consultancy process that was undertaken, but then suggests that he is responding to community concerns and provides no evidence that these measures have been developed as a result of any community consultation. He did not give the community the chance to contribute or respond prior to presenting his measures to the Assembly.

The health action plan contains more than 135 actions against 13 key areas of focus. It maps detailed actions in key areas, including health promotion, mental health, alcohol and drug use, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, building a sustainable work force and strengthening primary and acute care. The plan is action oriented. It was developed in consultation with the community and will involve the community and clinicians in its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

This stands in stark contrast to Setting the agenda, the Liberal government's blueprint for health in the ACT. That document was extremely long on rhetoric and very short on reality. You need to bear in mind in digesting Mr Smyth's comments, statements and release on this matter that Setting the agenda, his blueprint for health in the ACT, contained no actions, contained no goals, contained no targets, contained no measures and contained no accountability mechanism. What an amazing turnabout we have had here! We have Mr Smyth, the doyen now of Setting the agenda, a document with no actions, no goals, no targets, no measures and no accountability mechanisms becoming the champion of all of those in this government's action plan.

The government is willing to be held accountable to the commitments made in the health action plan. The plan specifically states that the development of a meaningful set of performance measures for the ACT health system is properly the main concern of the new ACT Health Council. A key role that my government has given to the council is to construct such a set of measures based on the real and genuine involvement of consumers, community groups and health professionals. I expect the council to draw on a range of sources in this work, though I doubt that it will spend all that much time considering Mr Smyth's collection as presented here today.

The types of indicators we will need will measure our progress against key health indicators such as survival rates for cancer, the proportion of children fully immunised, emergency department waiting times, and days waited for elective surgery. Many of these indicators are already in existence and are reported against regularly as part of the Chief Health Officer's biennial report. This is the type of data the council will need to work with to develop meaningful markers of health system performance.

A consistent feature of Mr Smyth's list was the apparently random nature of many of the targets. Why are some of these numbers chosen? There is a reference to reducing binge drinking in young people by 5 per cent. Why 5 per cent? Why and how did Mr Smyth decide that it was appropriate before June 2004 to reduce binge drinking in young people by 5 per cent? Why 5 per cent? And, more interestingly, how would this be measured? How would the health system measure a 5 per cent reduction in binge drinking? How would it be actioned?

This would presumably be part of the very expensive health promotion campaign that would also promote the use of low cholesterol food and get kids to eat more fruit. Some of the measures put forward by Mr Smyth appear reasonable. However, he demonstrates

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .