Page 1035 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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Wednesday, 16 March 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Standing orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent notice No 4, Private Members’ business relating to the Minister for Health—Proposed Motion of Censure, being called on forthwith.

Minister for Health

Motion of censure

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (10.33): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that the:

(a) inpatient cost weighted separations target for 2004-05 is down 2232 on the 2003-04 result;

(b) average number of additions per month to the elective surgery waiting list has reduced since 2001;

(c) amount of elective surgery at Calvary year to date is down 13% on 2003-04;

(d) amount of surgery at The Canberra Hospital year to date is down 7% on 2003-04; and

(e) that elective surgery waiting lists are at a record 5,035; and

(2) censures the Minister for Health for his comprehensive mishandling of the Health portfolio.

Mr Speaker, I am moving this motion today because there has been a lot of discussion about health statistics of late. I am pleased this discussion has been occurring and I am pleased it is occurring first up on private members’ day because, for too long, the Minister for Health has been able to get away with glib lines about the true state of our hospital system. With apologies to Disraeli, there are lies, damned lies, statistics and health statistics. The Minister for Health has used and abused the dark art of health statistics to an intolerable level. This motion today is a chance for the true statistics to be discussed, without the restrictions imposed by the 30-second news grab.

The first part of this motion concerns the targets for inpatient cost-weighted separations. These latest figures, taken from the output statements tabled at the recent supplementary appropriation hearing, show—if members look at page 60 of the document from the Treasurer—that the number of cost-weighted separations for inpatient service has

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