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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3878 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

doing nothing more to reduce our waiting lists and physically ensure that patients get their operations in a suitable and timely manner.

I have call after call to my office. Category 2 patients are suffering the most. They should be seen within 90 days, but on average they are waiting some 140 days. If the minister is proud and crowing from the rooftops about that, I leave it to people to make up their mind on whether they think that that is acceptable and he should be crowing about it.

The September figure is only five short of a record high waiting list figure of 4,330 in April this year-five short of a record high. I think that the minister needs to explain why a $2 million injection into waiting lists has done nothing to reduce waiting lists and the times that, in particular, category 2 and category 3 patients are having to wait for their operations.

We cannot continue to spend more and receive less. Having an increase of 70 patients on the waiting list and a total of 4,325 patients on the waiting list is not good enough. This government needs to start getting its priorities right. The priorities should not be on dressing up access to elective surgery figures. They should be clearing the waiting list as quickly as possible and getting waiting times down to an acceptable level.

I seek leave to table those media releases.

Leave granted.

MRS BURKE: I present the following papers:

Hospital Waiting Lists-

Media Release by Mrs Burke, MLA, dated 20 October 2003.

Media Release, by Mrs Burke, MLA, dated 21 October 2003.

Hospital waiting lists

MR QUINLAN: (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.43), in reply: I have to say on behalf of the Minister for Health that Mrs Burke was being entirely illogical in saying that we are spending more and getting less. Mr Corbell went to great lengths today to demonstrate that we are spending more and getting more.

Mrs Burke: More time on the waiting list. You're splitting hairs here; you know it.

MR QUINLAN: We may well be the victims of our own success-our Health Minister may be the victim of his own success-in as much as the more we put through, the more potential surgeries are booked to the list. The government can control the rate-

Mrs Burke: If they are going through, why are there waiting lists?


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