Page 3246 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 13 November 2007

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Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The supplementary is hypothetical. It is based on the supposition that there may be forthcoming money. There is no point asking the minister what she might do with money that may not be forthcoming.

MR SPEAKER: The supplementary question is not allowed.

Health—oral and maxillofacial surgery

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, at a briefing from officials from ACT Health on Monday, 12 November 2007, assurances were given to me that the recent problems regarding less than optimal patient outcomes for oral maxillofacial surgery were being investigated. Minister, I have now been contacted by another two patients. They each have compound fractures of the jaw. These fractures should have resulted in urgent admission and surgery. I have been advised, however, that both of these young patients were told that their surgery would not be scheduled until a week later. Minister, why weren’t these two facial surgery cases dealt with as a matter of urgency?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mrs Burke for the question. In relation to the two cases she talks about, I need details of those if I am to investigate and provide advice back. My guess is that, if they were given a date and a time for their surgery, that would be a date and time based on clinical decision making, but I will take advice on that.

In relation to the briefing around less than optimal patient outcomes, I do not think that at this stage there is any agreement that there has been any confirmed case of less than optimal outcomes for any patients. There are a number of cases under review that have been referred to Health and are being examined as part of their clinical processes, but I do not think that we can allow it to continue that we have got confirmed cases of less than optimal patient outcomes; to my knowledge, there has not been one confirmed case.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Burke?

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Minister. Minister, what reason do you give to those people who allege that they have had less than optimal surgical outcomes and to these further cases and their families because of the compromise to their health through the delays in arranging urgent facial surgery?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not think I can answer that question—what reasons would I give: unconfirmed cases of less than optimal patient outcomes based on alleged delays to their surgery?

Mrs Burke: So they are not telling the truth? They are not lying to you.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Burke!

MS GALLAGHER: It is an impossible question to answer. To accept it you would have to accept the proposition that, first, there had been less than optimal patient

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