Page 2522 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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national average of beds per thousand is 2.47—2.47 beds per thousand of the population. The ACT falls well below that at 2.27.

Mr Quinlan: Given the cross-border business that we do, that is just a nonsense number.

MR SMYTH: It is compensated for in this. The 2.27 means we are 66 beds short of the national average. The minister is saying, “We will get you 20.” The experts are all saying, Dr Peter Collignon and all the acute medicine experts are saying, the minimum we need is 100. But we are 66 beds short of what we need. And we do not have an answer.

The minister was on the radio, saying, “We have got 20 beds coming and there are 60 beds coming at Calvary.” The beds at Calvary have been coming since March 2001. It was an initiative of the previous government. The former health minister, Michael Moore, was here earlier and you acknowledged him, Mr Speaker—and rightly so. All the trends were for better service. The median times in the list were all going down under Michael Moore, unlike this minister, where they are all angling up. We now know that the step-down facility will be available some time in 2006. The last estimate I heard was December 2006.

The shame of this is that we pay so much more than others. The chart quite rightly points out that, for the state and territory government public hospital recurrent expenditure per person in the 2003-04 year, the Northern Territory spent $12,023, with the tyranny of distance and degree of acuity and complications with the population mix there. Western Australia is a pretty big state with a pretty small population. Its average spend was $769, which was only $24 more than what we spent, at $745, on a concentrated, young, fairly healthy population.

We do not have the dilemmas that Western Australia or the Northern Territory have, but we still had a spend of $745. You would think that we would top out on all of the other measures, but we do not. The national average was $552. Our spend per population on recurrent expenditure on the public hospital is 35 per cent higher.

The minister cannot give us a reason why we spend 35 per cent more and get less than the other jurisdictions. It comes down to the model that they have adopted, the health reforms put into place by the former failed health minister, the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, who said, “All you have to do is put $6 million into the health price and it will all go away.” Then, to crack a joke, but there is no humour on the government benches, he flicked a hospital pass to Mr Corbell. The expenditure keeps going up, but the level of service that we provide and the time limits of the service that we provide continue to go down.

The report is a revelation, as you read through it. It is impossible to go through it entirely but it is worth noting that the report says that we have three public hospitals, Canberra, Calvary and, I assume, the Royal Military College hospital, which is publicly funded. We have four day centres. As I have said, we have the 15th busiest hospital in the system.

It is interesting that in regard to state and territory government public hospital recurrent expenditure per person we have come down in terms of where we rank. We used to be

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