Page 2776 - Week 09 - Thursday, 27 September 2007

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of a public hospital system. Indeed, we welcome the fact that we are seeing an increased level of awareness of the complaints mechanism. That is why we have the health service complaints system.

But to suggest that there will not be any complaints in a system that sees over 73,500 inpatient cost-weighted separations or occasions of service every year and which sees 96,000 presentations to the emergency department every year is absurd. Of course there will be some level of complaint. But, Mr Speaker, let us look at what our most recent surveys of patient satisfaction find. The most recent report, based on a survey undertaken in February this year, shows that 94 per cent of patients surveyed reported that they were either very or fairly satisfied with their hospital experience—94 per cent. So 94 per cent of patients came away with a reasonable level of satisfaction with their experience in the hospital. That is a very strong result.

Health systems are complex systems; they involve complex occasions of care involving very many interactions throughout the journey that a patient undertakes through the hospital system. What the Health Services Complaints Commissioner has found, though, is that we have a health system which is responsive to complaint. Indeed, the commissioner says in his report that ACT Health responded appropriately and comprehensively to complaints that were raised.

We also have a system that learns from its mistakes, that identifies where problems are and that, through clinical assessment and clinical review, improves upon its systemic processes as well as upon its individual processes of care. That is the nature and the complexity of a public health system. It is not reasonable to make the claim that because there is complaint the system as a whole is not performing. The system is performing. The system is working hard and working well and dealing with an ever-increasing level of acuity and dealing with an ever-increasing level of demand. But that is not to say that there will not be some complaints. Of course there will be. The system is designed to respond to complaints and to learn from those complaints. That is the approach we will take going forward.

Environment—election promises

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the minister for the environment and it relates to the government’s promises on the environment at the last election. In September 2004, as part of the election campaign, the government made a number of commitments relating to the environment, including the protection of an extra 900 hectares of grasslands and woodlands, specifically Kinleyside woodland, Newline Quarry woodland, South Aranda woodland, Lawson grasslands, West Majura-Campbell Park grasslands, and Naas Valley. Could the minister please give us a progress report on the protection of these areas and a time line of when the government intends to protect them?

MR STANHOPE: I am more than happy to provide details of the decisions and actions that have been taken by this government in relation to the protection of a whole suite of areas of various descriptions and various ecological significance, not just those in relation to grassland but indeed those that are particularly valuable as a result of their other ecological values—lowland woodland and not just grassland.

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