Page 871 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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Calvary Hospital

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the opposition has been contacted by nurses who have advised that clinical staff at Calvary Public Hospital were directed/encouraged to take leave from 18 March through to 24 April this year. The reason given for this direction was that there would be a lull in activity during that period. Why will there be a lull in the operating theatres of Calvary from 18 March until 24 April?

MR CORBELL: This is a scheduled reduction in activity at Calvary Hospital during the school holiday and Easter period. The reason is that it coincides with Calvary’s decision to manage the level of throughput it is funded for this year, and to take account of school holidays and the need for staff to plan their holidays in a way that coincides with the reduction in the planned level of elective surgery.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, for how many weeks will the Canberra Hospital close its elective surgery theatres between now and the end of the financial year?

MR CORBELL: I am happy to take that question on notice.

Canberra Hospital

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, during the adjournment debate yesterday, you read a letter from a constituent outlining their positive experiences at the Canberra Hospital. Minister, is it the case that the letter was written by a staff member of a Labor MLA?

MR CORBELL: I do not intend to disclose the name or other details of the constituent who wrote to me. It was a letter from a constituent. I read it into Hansard to highlight the fact that I receive letters all the time from members of the community complimenting the government and the staff of our public hospitals and different public health facilities for their efforts. It is a practice I intend to keep up in this place.

MR SESELJA: I ask a supplementary question. Mr Corbell, is your reliance on a Labor staff member to talk up the performance of the Canberra Hospital another desperate attempt to cover the failings of your health system?

MR CORBELL: The reality is that the letter I read yesterday was a genuine letter from a constituent. I will continue to do that in this place to highlight the fact that there are two sides to the health debate. Yes, there are challenges and there are issues in our health system, issues the government is working hard to address. At the same time, there are many people who recognise the excellence of both the system and the service it provides. Given that those on the other side are only interested in one aspect, I think I need to balance the ledger and do the other.

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