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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3306 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

waiting time at Calvary is now 23 days for category 1 surgery, 123 days for category 2 and 248 days for category 3.

One would be wrong on two counts. First, they are average waiting times, not the actual waiting times per patient. Category 2 patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery would be looking at a wait of closer to a year, even as long as 21/2 years, as we have heard recently, depending on their surgeon. Secondly, those poor souls who believed the government's promise to better and more openly manage waiting times would be mistaken because the waiting lists and times on the website as of 10.21 this morning-I have not checked since that time-are for February. I have a screen dump there for those that would like to see it.

The website still has the figures for February. It is six months out of date. I have raised the issue of the outdated website, both in this place and in the media. Just last week the minister said that he understood that the website was being updated, yet here we are today talking about a website that is ridiculously out of date. That is a sign of the contempt with which this government holds the people of Canberra. That is a sign that Mr Corbell's pledge that waiting lists would be his top priority was worthless.

Since Mr Corbell became minister, the amount of information about waiting lists and times has been dramatically reduced. During the estimates process, Mr Corbell had the hide to claim that the new elective surgery data sets would be more informative. The Hansard report of that reads:

...I've taken the decision that we need to improve the format, to improve the accountability. We're not proposing to remove any information from the bulletin which is already in the bulletin or in the waiting list figures, but I have asked the department to improve the accountability so that people can see what is going on in relation to elective surgery waiting lists. I've asked for the development of a new format.

The minister soon had to backtrack on that claim. He was forced to write to me on 17 June 2003 to clarify the matter. Remember that he said that there would not be less information. His letter reads:

Dear Brendan

In the Select Committee on Estimates Hearing on 22 May 2003, during discussion on the publication of elective surgery waiting list information I indicated, "we were not proposing to remove any information from the bulletin which is already in the bulletin or in the waiting lists figures..."

This information was incorrect and I would like to make the following correction. The information reported in the new publication Access to Elective Surgery will not report all information previously reported in the Hospital Information Bulletins. It will present some of the information previously published but this will be in a different format. Changes and additions to the information published in this report may change from time to time as required.

Yours sincerely

Simon Corbell MLA

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