Page 790 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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Can I say that there is no effect on the numbers but there is, however, a big effect on the quality of our police officers. These officers get an opportunity, at the middle ranks, to go over and experience community policing in another jurisdiction and they come back all the better for it. If Mr Pratt is suggesting that we deny places like the Solomons the benefit of our police officers, perhaps he would prefer that we said to the Commonwealth, “No; bad luck. Go to New South Wales and get them, or go to Victoria and get them.” No, thank you very much, Mr Pratt. We have an obligation and we are happy to discharge it.

Health—elective surgery

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell, and it concerns waiting lists. Yesterday the minister told us that in “the six months from July to December last year over 4,600 Canberrans got access to elective surgery, the second highest level ever of elective surgery activity for a six-month period”. Actually, it was 4,346 in that period, not 4,600. He also stated that more people than ever are receiving their surgery and that the government had put some $7.5 million extra into elective surgery. As an average, the number of people receiving surgery per month under Labor is 670. Under the Liberal government, the number of people receiving surgery per month was 704. So 34 fewer people per month are receiving their surgery under Labor. Minister, why is the community paying $7.5 million for 34 fewer operations per month?

MR CORBELL: As I outlined to Mrs Burke yesterday, we are seeing an increase in the amount of elective surgery undertaken and that cannot be disputed. The level of elective surgery in the past six months was the second highest level for a six-month period on record. That is the bottom line. If there is an error in the figure, I will check that and I will certainly correct the record if that was not accurate. But I know that it is the second highest figure on record for a six-month period. It is only short of the record, I understand, by a very small number of people. So we are getting more money for elective surgery, and that is the point I made yesterday.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the average cost of an elective surgery procedure in cost-weighted terms and how does this cost compare with the cost in other jurisdictions?

MR CORBELL: I am happy to take that question on notice and provide the information to Mrs Burke.


MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Cryptosporidium is a serious gastrointestinal disease spread through contaminated water sources, often swimming pools and less often drinking water. I understand it is a notifiable disease. Have any cases of cryptosporidium been reported to ACT Health recently? And if so, has the source of the infection been identified?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any reports. However, I will take the question on notice and provide further information to Mr Stefaniak.

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