Page 3351 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 14 November 2007

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Health—oral and maxillofacial surgery

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, at a recent briefing from officials from ACT Health, information was provided relating to complication rates resulting from treatment of fractures of the jaw. None of the data on complication rates was drawn from Australia. Minister, what research has been undertaken, either in the ACT or elsewhere in Australia, to identify issues about complications relating to oral maxillofacial surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery? If no research has been undertaken, why is this the case?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take that question on notice. I do not know how much research has been done here in Australia. I know that Mrs Burke was given information about complication rates for jaw fractures as part of a comprehensive briefing as an attempt to urge the opposition to allow processes around OMFS and some of the allegations that are being made to be examined through the clinical processes that we have in the hospital. As I said, there has not been one confirmed case of an adverse outcome for a patient at this stage. The cases that have been referred are all being reviewed by a doctor through the hospital. Really, the opposition’s way of conducting this is most cowardly, I have to say.

Mrs Burke: You have to be kidding me.

MS GALLAGHER: What you say in here you will not say out there. And that is the test. Would you go out there and say what you have been saying—

Mrs Burke: I’m just doing—

Mr Pratt: What’s the—

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Burke; Order, Mr Pratt!

MS GALLAGHER: You would not. What you are doing is alienating doctors not just in one particular area of the hospital but across the hospital. If they think that every time someone makes a complaint about their performance it is going to be raised in here—

Mrs Burke: Point of order, Mr Speaker, on relevance. The question was actually about research being undertaken in the ACT or elsewhere in Australia.

MR SPEAKER: But it was in relation to a certain type of surgery and the minister is entitled to address issues around it.

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, what we have here is the reputation of one area of the hospital being run down when there is absolutely no evidence—no proven evidence—that there is anything for this doctor to answer. What Mrs Burke has done is take the side of one group and decide that that is the truth. That is what she has decided. She has decided that everything that she hears on this from one side, one party, is the truth. We are trying to look at all of the issues from both sides and examine the cases that have been referred.

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