Page 3224 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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been able to resolve the issue for this year. As we move into the next years, we will need to work out whether we stay with IMET formally or whether we have our own process. The risk of having our own allocation process is that at some point 50 graduates will not want to work at the Canberra Hospital and we will be left short of interns. It is risky to go out on our own, but with the graduates and the number of graduates that are wanting to stay here it is something that we should seriously consider over the next couple of years.

In terms of the response from the community to the health plan, it has been overwhelming. All the health stakeholder groups have endorsed a 10-year approach—not one based on electoral cycles but one which actually says, “This is the demand we know we are going to see and this is how you fix it.” It has given stability to the sector about commitments that need to be made and followed through with.

From across the health community, I have had broad support. We have had support from Mr Mulcahy here in the Assembly. I think Dr Foskey has given conditional support for some elements of it. And Mr Seselja has endorsed it. I expect a copying of our plan to be announced by the Liberals soon. Mr Seselja today said that “A lot of what the government has planned in terms of the last budget we agree with. A lot of that infrastructure spend we very much agree with. It is good stuff; it is overdue and we are not going to change direction on that if we come into government.”

That is what the captain of the A team is saying. When we go to the captain of the B team, Mrs Burke, this is Mrs Burke’s response to the plan:

… the Minister now talks about everything but a space ship to take patients to the moon for health treatment … Frankly, we don’t need space ships, and brain labs … It’s one thing to have bureaucrats toil over fancy ideas, but I’m sure Canberran’s want the problems … fixed before we start talking about “brain labs” and “air walls” in a “barn style” operating theatre.

That is the response of the B team captain—completely out, not accepting the data, not accepting the reality, not accepting the facts, not accepting the plan.

Interestingly, I find as I peruse various websites—I have an unhealthy addiction to political websites, I have to admit—that I come across Mrs Burke’s website. In there I find out that she is developing a macro health plan for the ACT for the next 20 years. The committee membership advising her—I am not sure if Mr Seselja is aware of this macro health plan for the next 20 years—is confidential. So a secret committee is establishing this macro health plan for 20 years. It is made up of “surgeons, specialist high dependency and ICU professionals, general ward Nurses, emergency and triage trained Nurses, Anaesthetists and GPs”.

Mrs Burke: Table that. Does it say “secret”?

MS GALLAGHER: It does not say “secret”; it says:

The committee membership is confidential because many of those on the Committee work within the ACT health system and do not want to place their employment in jeopardy by publicly speaking out.

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