Page 2766 - Week 09 - Thursday, 27 September 2007

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I seek leave to move a motion authorising the report for publication.

Leave granted.

DR FOSKEY: I move:

That the report be authorised for publication.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

DR FOSKEY: I move:

That the report be noted.

Due to the high level of public interest, the public accounts committee decided to inquire into the issue of waiting lists. The Auditor-General’s report found that waiting times in the ACT were generally worse than for other Australian jurisdictions and had worsened in the years prior to the report. The Auditor-General found that there was significant scope for improvement in the generation and use of waiting list information by ACT Health.

The committee heard from a variety of witnesses and experts and the common theme was that waiting list reduction did not rely on additional resources. Much could be achieved through active management of lists to ensure that existing resources are used efficiently. The report uses the Auburn elective surgery program as a case study of how effective waiting list management can lead to greater access to operating theatres, fewer delays, reduction of average length of stay and shorter waiting times.

Waiting list management is an effective way of addressing increased demand, but it is also important to understand what is driving this increased demand. One area that the report highlights is the increased use of ACT hospitals for elective surgery by New South Wales residents. Cooperation between the ACT and New South Wales governments will be important in managing changes in demand for elective surgery.

Managing waiting lists is a complex task. The committee has noted that ACT Health has taken steps to attempt to respond to the concerns raised in the Auditor-General’s report and the committee recommends that the government report to the Legislative Assembly on the outcomes of those steps.

Effective waiting list management is not just about the ACT getting more for its health dollars. Reduced waiting times and greater access to elective surgery for those most in need can have a huge impact upon the quality of life of those waiting. Waiting lists for elective surgery are of concern to the community and the committee believes that the government should consider greater community involvement in the difficult decisions around service provision and service priorities.

Mr Speaker, I want to thank the secretary of the public accounts committee at that time, Ms Andrea Cullen, for her work on this report and also the other committee staff

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