Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3843 ..
Mrs Dunne: What is the target for overdue surgery?
MR CORBELL: the highest number for any quarter in over three years.
Mrs Dunne: What's the target?
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR CORBELL: Eight hundred and five people-
Ms MacDonald: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I must protest at the constant interruptions from the opposite side. I can't hear the minister's response.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms MacDonald. I have called members of the opposition to order once and I will issue warnings if there are any future outbreaks of interjections.
MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. In addition to the 2,260-odd people admitted for surgery in the past three months, the most of any quarter for over three years, 805 people were admitted for elective surgery alone during September this year. That is the highest number of admissions since November last year. So we are seeing an increase in the amount of elective surgery, both in the last month as well as in relation to the most recent quarter. The government has kept its promise to give more people access to elective surgery.
I remember Mr Smyth and others from the other side of the chamber in this place saying, "Oh, throwing money at the problem won't fix it."Well, tell that to the 2,260 people who have received access to elective surgery in the past quarter, the most of any quarter for the past three years.
Mrs Dunne: What about the 2,000 who are overdue?
MR CORBELL: Tell it to them, because quite frankly, the Liberal Party-
MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume his seat. Mrs Dunne, I warn you.
MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. That is the approach of this government and clearly it is one that is working. But it is worth noting that at the same time more people are getting access to elective surgery, more people are going through the operating theatres, more people are seeing their surgeon and getting the service they need. We are still seeing people being added to the waiting list. In fact, the addition to the waiting list of 1,050 people by their surgeons during September 2003 is the highest since July 2000. So we are not only seeing increased levels of activity-some of the highest in over three years. We are also seeing increased levels of people being placed on the waiting list.
Mr Speaker, this government is addressing the issue and it is doing so by increasing throughput-increasing the amount of surgery that is undertaken. We cannot determine who needs elective surgery but we can determine that more people get it sooner, and that is what the government is doing.