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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2167 ..

Health problems do not stop at state borders, just as they do not stop in hospitals or GPs’ offices. It is important that the ACT work with other jurisdictions, and it is important that we do so in a transparent and accountable way. I am pleased to see that the government agrees or notes—not that I think that “noting” means that any action will ensue —the majority of the committee’s recommendations with regard to health. A lot of the same issues were raised in my speech last year. Generally we have been good at spending money on health infrastructure and on the pointy end of health care. No matter how much we spend, we are always going to have waiting lists, and the opposition, no matter which party it is, is always going to complain that the government is not doing enough.

I think we can do more to work with people, community organisations and the health community to get a more integrated and holistic health system to keep people out of hospitals. The moves to greater fitness in ACT schools, the child and family centres, the community health centre in Gungahlin and perhaps the early childhood education centres—if they do what they are supposed to do—are steps in the right direction for improving the health of our residents, and I hope to see more.

Mr Speaker, I have remarked before that I appreciate that health does have a forward strategy. I believe that is evidenced by the ministerial statement that was produced today, “your health, our priority”, and I have commended the minister on that. Perhaps there are even the rudiments of a vision. I am afraid, though, that this is more than can be said for many other sectors, and I commend them to look at the approach of the health minister and the department and get involved in more forward planning so that each budget looks less ad hoc than it does this year.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.27): As a parent as well as a representative of people in the ACT, I think that the health lines in the budget represent one of the areas of major interest. As a parent and as a consumer of health services in the ACT, I think that there is a lot that is good as well as a lot that needs improvement.

As a fairly regular consumer of paediatric services I think that the work done, say, through the paediatric outpatient services and the excellent clinics that are provided for children with chronic diseases are a huge step forward. Over the 27 years that I have been a consumer of, say, cystic fibrosis services in the ACT, I have seen huge advances and I think that the health staff and the doctors who have taken on a very innovative approach should be highly congratulated for the work that they do.

I would just like to draw members’ attention to a really simple innovation which is an extraordinarily liberating thing. I carry around in my handbag a USB drive about half the size of a ballpoint pen and it contains on it all my son’s medical records. Every time I go to the hospital or to an outpatient service, it is plugged in and it is uploaded. So, if I am ever interstate and I do not have access to his medical records, I can pull out a USB and they can stick it in the computer and know everything, and more than I know, about his medical condition. It is a huge innovation and it is a testament to the way that the hospital service is embracing ICT for the management of patient records. Although there are still problems with some of the patient records stuff, it is moving along and people should be congratulated for the good work that they are doing.

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