Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 150 ..
MR ( continuing):
Mr Speaker, I sincerely hope we get an after-hours clinic and that it is one which addresses chronic deafness. Certainly the Leader of the Opposition could do with an appointment to see about his hearing. I have said three times since I have been on my feet that these clinics have been investigated ad nauseam. I have said that Mr Smyth can go to Calvary for absolutely nothing and see a GP for a referral to an audio specialist.
I also advise the Assembly that the department of health, in conjunction with the Tuggeranong Community Council-and in conjunction with myself-has explored the need for additional medical services in Tuggeranong. Referring to it as GP services for the Lanyon Valley is a little simplistic.
Mr Smyth talks about extending this service to Tuggeranong. The northern part of the Tuggeranong Valley does not have a problem with GPs. The Tuggeranong town centre-for the edification of Mr Smyth-does not need GPs. The Erindale Centre does not need GPs and the Chisholm area does not need GPs. The Lanyon Valley does need GPs or a medical service. What has the government been doing about it?
Mr Smyth: So your policy was wrong?
MR HARGREAVES: I will tell you, Mr Speaker. Mr Smyth has to speak loudly because he is suffering from deafness. The deaf always speak loudly!
The advice I have received is that the Lanyon Valley has a definite need for medical services. I have expounded that need in this place before. I also know that there is an alternative model of a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is not the same as when Mr Smyth was a little boy, not all that long ago. It was not a nurse practitioner, where you got a practice nurse in a clinic. We are talking about a professional considerably higher qualified than they are now, practising family medicine in the suburbs.
New South Wales-a Labor jurisdiction-is blazing away while your Commonwealth mates sit on their hands. God only knows where their thumbs are! Mr Speaker, the rank hypocrisy of these people over the back here absolutely astounds me.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Members of the Opposition! Mr Hargreaves has the floor.
Mr Smyth: He has this effect on us, Mr Speaker.
MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I wear that accusation as a badge of honour, Mr Smyth.
What these people refuse to acknowledge is that a process that was started within the bureaucracy over which they had management and was boosted along by the same bureaucracy over which this minister has management, is starting to bear fruit, when we have to determine whether we need GP services or general medical services, ably provided by nurse practitioners, and whether it is a model we can employ to get over the chronic GP service shortage that your federal mates have generated. When we talk about the GP service here, we are talking about Paterson's Curse. In fact, we have to come up with novel ways of doing it-it happened-and you get this sort of tripe being trotted out here to examine the need to extend this service to Tuggeranong and Gungahlin.