Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2005) . . Page.. 1818 ..
MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (5.51): Mr Speaker, I thank Ms Porter for putting this motion on the agenda today because it is an important motion and we really need to have a discussion about the whole nature of universal health care systems. Ms Porter just said that the federal government is mean spirited because people cannot get access to whatever they want whenever they want it and that it is truly conservative and is running a conservative agenda. By that definition, Mr Corbell is the arch-conservative because there are now 5,099 Canberrans who would like to get access—
MR SPEAKER: Relevance, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: It is relevant to the funding of health care services, Mr Speaker, and access. According to Ms Porter, people should have the right to access health services whenever they want, wherever they want. There were 5,099 Canberrans and New South Wales residents on our elective surgery waiting lists as at the end of March who would also like to have that. So it would appear that Mr Corbell is the true arch conservative of the ACT Assembly because he is the one who is dictating which amount of money goes where inside the health budget, so that people get service when that funding is available.
At the outset, let me state that the Liberal Party fully supports the use of in-vitro fertilisation, IVF, and assisted reproductive technology, ART, and supports the continued public funding of access to IVF and ART. However, it is important to note that there are many competing priorities in public health funding and that it is an important matter for public debate. As I said, I welcome Ms Porter’s motion today because it does provide an opportunity for that debate.
I note that the 2003-04 Health ACT annual report goes on at some length about something called clinical streaming. Ms Porter might have read this before she made her speech. Let me quote from the annual report:
The portfolio has begun to move to the clinical streaming of a number of services as part of an increased emphasis on establishing a client-centred health system. Clinical streaming builds on the networking of services, to focus on the provision of services across the care continuum in a number of care settings. Streamed services operate under one management model and cover services from health promotion, early intervention, community health services and outpatient services, through to acute care services.
The partnering of health professionals across a number of settings has provided opportunities to assess the demand and service needs of patients. Clinical streams allow clinicians and consumers to participate in the planning, development and improvement of services and to assess the best way to use available resources (human, financial and infrastructure) to meet client needs.
That is Mr Corbell’s opinion of how one should allocate the available health funding. Let me read the last two sentences again:
The partnering of health professionals across a number of settings has provided opportunities to assess the demand and service needs of patients. Clinical streams allow clinicians and consumers to participate in the planning, development and