Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 14 February 2008) . . Page.. 256 ..
Canberra Hospital particularly in categories 3, 4 and 5, year to date, is getting even worse under your leadership. Minister, how do you explain these worsening figures in three out of five triage categories, given your claims that things are improving?
MS GALLAGHER: I should say that the comments I have made recently about the improvements in the triage categories are correct. The information that Mrs Burke gets under FOI is several months old by the time she gets it. In fact, I think the latest data you have is probably for September last year—
Mrs Burke: No, November.
MS GALLAGHER: November?
Mr Smyth: Well, table the up-to-date stuff.
Mrs Burke: You can table the up-to-date one, though.
MS GALLAGHER: Well, we do provide that information.
Mrs Burke: No, you don’t.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MS GALLAGHER: As the minister, I am briefed weekly on the performance of our public hospital system. I am briefed extensively about all the areas of the public hospital system, so it is not that unusual that I might have more up-to-date figures than Mrs Burke has available at her fingertips—
Mrs Burke: No, you play with the figures. You use figures when it suits you.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Burke!
MS GALLAGHER: while those figures are finalised. As people would be aware, the data that is used in health goes through several processes, to ensure the data is correct, because it is provided to national bodies.
The areas of improvement in the emergency department over the past couple of months, despite again continued levels of demand being placed on it, are pleasing to me. There are improvements in category 2 and there are improvements in category 5, but categories 3 and 4 remain the challenge for us. There is a whole range of measures that we have put in place to improve timeliness in these categories.
Anyone who stands here needs to be honest and say that these things take time, and I have said that time and time again. The level of demand in categories 3 and 4 and our ability to meet timeliness in those categories will not change over one month or two months; they will change over time.
We have a number of areas where improvements will be seen in the ED. We have more staff coming. In fact, recently we have had staff come from overseas, which is increasing our doctor numbers, which will make sure that more patients are seen. As