Page 1520 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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of the year. We hope that it spurs more and more young people to participate in community events throughout the year. I would like to thank in advance all the organisers and participants of the 2005 Youth Week, and I wish them all the best for the week.

Hospital waiting lists

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. You said yesterday in relation to elective surgery:

Our throughput continues to grow. We continue to see more people getting access to elective surgery because of the government’s initiatives.

The latest patient activity datasets for the Canberra Hospital and Calvary note that Calvary Hospital’s elective surgery operations, year to date, are 13 per cent fewer than last year. At the Canberra Hospital elective surgery admissions, year to date, have dropped from 12,072 last year to 8,398 this year, a staggering 30 per cent drop.

Minister, how is it possible for throughput to grow and more people to access elective surgery when elective surgery admissions are down 30 per cent at the Canberra Hospital and elective surgery operations are down 13 per cent at Calvary?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, we have been through this debate before. The point I need to make is that those data have been affected by some changes in relation to measuring both outpatients and inpatients. That material has previously been provided and dealt with in the recent estimates committee for the second appropriation. That information is on the public record.

The point I was making yesterday is the point I have made repeatedly, and that is that the government is paying for more operations. More operations are being done this year. This year an additional 200 people who are long-wait, category 2 and category 3 patients in ophthalmology and in knee and hip type operations are being targeted through additional money, particularly to Calvary Hospital. We continue to invest in improving access to elective surgery, and more people are getting access to elective surgery as a result of that investment.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, is it the case that surgeons at Calvary have now filled their quotas and will not be performing any more elective surgery operations for the rest of the financial year?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, some surgeons at Calvary Hospital have completed their lists for the year. That is something which is down to a scheduling decision by Calvary Hospital as to how they will spread their lists over the period of the year. I think it is unfortunate that the lists are not spread out over the entire year. But that is a scheduling decision that Calvary Hospital has made this year.

I am in consultation with my department and Calvary Hospital on this matter, and I would hope that in future years they would choose to spread their lists and the funding for those lists over the year period so that surgeons will continue their work throughout the year rather than completing it in a period of less than a year.

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