Page 257 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 2008

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members will be aware, it has been a real area of need for us in terms of staffing our emergency departments. In fact, I think we have had just over 50 per cent of our doctors positions filled because we have not been able to find emergency practitioners to work in them.

Mrs Burke: I wonder why they won’t work. What about the culture?

MS GALLAGHER: We are in the process of having a significant improvement in the number of emergency positions in place. The triage categories are improving. The Productivity Commission report data is two years old.

Mrs Burke interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Burke, cease interjecting.

MS GALLAGHER: But I am not going to stand here and say that our timeliness in categories 3 and 4 is where we want it to be. We will continue to see improvements, but the improvements that I have been seeing in recent months, along with the implementation of the fast-track program in the emergency department, the way that MAPU is working across the hospital—and we are looking at extending MAPU in the next budget into another area because of the success in getting people out of the emergency department and into the hospital—means that real change is happening in the emergency department and that real change will improve patient flow not only through the hospital but in terms of access into the emergency department as well.

The things that we have put in place over a number of years are starting to bear fruit in the ACT health system. As much as Mrs Burke talks it down and talks down the health professionals and talks down the management in ACT Health, constantly talking down management in ACT Health—

Mr Smyth: You’re the one who said it’s getting better. The minister said it was the best system in the world.

MS GALLAGHER: In fact, in every single press release Mrs Burke puts out she bags management across the ACT health system. What she fails to realise, of course, is that 100 per cent of the managers at TCH are health professionals, working every day in a health system, and that you cannot separate your criticism of the two. But what we are seeing are genuine improvements in terms of our capacity to deal with the demand we are seeing in the emergency department. We will see improvements in the triage categories. We will not see them in a month.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, cease interjecting!

MS GALLAGHER: We will not see them in two months. But they will come and they are already coming.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Burke?

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