Page 3353 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 14 November 2007

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MR SPEAKER: I cannot direct ministers to answer questions in a way that will please members of the opposition; I can only ask them to stick to the subject matter. The subject matter of the question concerned a particular type of surgery.

MS GALLAGHER: I urge the opposition to allow the processes to continue—allow natural justice to occur, allow the processes to continue and afford all the doctors in this debate the same rights—equal rights, which they are not getting at the moment.

Health—oral and maxillofacial surgery

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, yesterday in question time you talked about the current advertising campaign that was or has been underway to attract OMF surgeons to the Canberra Hospital.

In relation to the issue of providing appropriate oral and maxillofacial surgery in the ACT, the Acting Minister for Health recently said that “a level of detail around role delineation” remains to be determined. He also said that regrettably this is taking time.

Minister, how are you able to advertise for positions, and indeed make appointments, when the necessary delineation of the role is still underway? What assurances have you given or will you give to applicants in relation to the delineation of the role?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Quite simply, because we had reached agreement with the surgeons involved. We had reached agreement about what type of surgery was to be performed by one and what was to be performed by another. We had reached agreement. We went out to advertise, and then Mrs Burke stuck her nose in.

Mrs Burke: Ha!

MS GALLAGHER: And then Mrs Burke started raising allegations—unfounded allegations at this point—and she only makes them in here. She will not go outside and say it. But we had agreement. Whether we still have agreement, as this keeps getting raised in the Assembly, is unclear.

We need the goodwill of all the doctors involved to make this work. At the moment some of the goodwill of doctors is eroding, I have to say. So we will just have to wait and see whether, after Mrs Burke’s unhelpful interference, we can actually get a full service up and running at the hospital. At the moment, from where I sit, it seems pretty unlikely.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Mulcahy with a supplementary question.

MR MULCAHY: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Gallagher: Go outside and say it, Mrs Burke.


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