Page 2706 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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MRS DUNNE: Minister, with systematic failure in your agency—

MR SPEAKER: Come to the question, please, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: What other shattering failures will there have to be in your agency before you resign?

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, there has been no failure.


MS MacDONALD: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on how the ACT compares to other jurisdictions in transparent reporting of the performance of our health system?

Mrs Burke: It depends which figures you are looking at.

MS GALLAGHER: One area we do not go to is Mrs Burke’s figures. The commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing last week released the State of our public hospitals report 2008. This report showed that the Canberra Hospital is the 15th busiest hospital in the country—15 out of 738. It compared the reporting and transparency of each state and territory in relation to the performance of their public health systems.

The report showed that the ACT government reports across 23 different measures on how our system is reporting, more than any other jurisdiction. The next closest was Queensland, and bringing up the rear was the Northern Territory. The 23 areas cover a spectrum of admissions; elective surgery, including waiting times; emergency department, including numbers of presentations and patients seen; total bed days; numbers of unplanned readmissions; numbers of mental health readmissions; numbers of unplanned returns to operating theatres; numbers waiting for dental services; numbers of allied health services; numbers of women screened for breast cancer.

This independent report makes clear that, through our quarterly performance reports to the ACT community, we are the most open and the most transparent jurisdiction in the country when it comes to being upfront with the community on the performance of our health system. The report included other positives for the ACT: our public acute hospital beds per thousand increased from 2.3 to 2.5. The national average was 2.6. The number of beds in our public hospitals jumped 10 per cent and we continue to fund additional bed capacity for our public hospital system. By the end of 2007-08, we will have 830 beds in our hospital system, with another 25 to be added as part of the 2008-09 budget commitments.

The ACT provided 216 public patient admissions per thousand in 2006-07, which was much higher than the national average of 188. This indicates that the ACT public hospital system is experiencing more pressures than what is occurring nationally. In 2006-07, 89 per cent of the admissions at our hospital were public patients, which is

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