Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2016 ..
in Calvary Hospital. So the capacity is being used now in a private function and it would simply mean that those births would happen in the public function, in the same buildings, using the same facilities, sitting in the same beds.
It is simply wrong to claim that there will be a doubling because those women are giving birth at Calvary Hospital. Instead of it happening in the private facility, it will happen in the public facility-the same buildings, the same services.
The issue is one of cost, Mr Speaker, and yes, there will be increased costs for us to ensure that there are additional staff available, but we can accommodate that. I do not anticipate that that will come about. I may be wrong but I do not anticipate that will come about simply because what we hear publicly from a number of specialists is not what the department of health and the Department of Justice and Community Safety hear privately.
Specialists have been briefed in some detail on the government's proposals, as have their medical insurers, as have organisations such as the AMA. They are aware of the detail of the government's proposals. The government's proposals are not dissimilar to propositions that are being considered in South Australia, Western Australia and other jurisdictions. Those proposals have been met with a large degree of openness and agreement from specialists. They accept that these are positive moves that will address their concerns. Obviously, they want to see the government finalise its position and the Chief Minister has indicated the process for achieving that.
It is simply wrong to suggest that there will be a doubling of the workload. Part of that workload, effectively, already occurs within a public facility.
Mrs Dunne: What about John James?
MR CORBELL: The department of health is involved in ongoing discussion with John James to ensure that, should this situation arise because specialists refuse to provide services to their patients-and that is the reality; they will be refusing to provide services to their patients-the public system will be in a position to address that demand.
MRS BURKE: I thank the minister for that answer. In light of that, will other areas of the health system, such as elective surgery, suffer as the ACT public hospital system has to cope with the incredibly heavy increase in its obstetric workload?
MR SPEAKER: This is an interesting issue. This is entirely hypothetical.
MR CORBELL: I will accept your ruling on that, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: It really is hypothetical.
Rugby world cup
MR HARGREAVES: My question through you, Mr Speaker, is to the minister for sport and recreation. Will the minister inform the Assembly of the ACT's preparations for the 2003 rugby world cup, which is due to be held in Canberra during October and November?