Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3586 ..
coming to see me because they are not satisfied with the sort of service they get from Primary Health Care.” Yes, it is a model, as the minister said, but it is not a model that satisfies many people in the ACT. It is not a model that goes to good health care.
One of the reasons why you cannot see a doctor of choice for the most part at these places is they do not want doctors to spend time saying, when you come in for a cold, “How’s your angina going?” or “How’s your arthritis going?” because that wastes time, and the process is really about churning people through for as much money as possible. They do not want doctors to take the time to talk to their patients in a way that people have come to expect in the past.
The model of the family doctor who knows all the kids, who knows the grandparents, who knows the uncles and aunts and can say, “I can see a pattern in this patient that has been repeated in their family,” is not a model that Primary Health Care is interested in. Where we do not have that model, we are getting inferior primary health care for the people of the ACT. We should be doing what we can in the best interests of the community to ensure that organisations like this do not create a situation where most people are confronted with using corporatised doctors.
In the minute or so that is available to me, I have to again point to the model—and Dr Foskey pointed to this also—put forward by the West Belconnen Health Cooperative, which is an extraordinarily innovative thing. I am proud to have worked with these people in the very small way that I have and to have seen a community group embrace a problem, determine what the problem is and come up with a solution. The Canberra Liberals have committed to ensure that there is enough funding to ensure this gets off the ground. There is considerable tardiness from the Stanhope government and a sort of whining, “I’m not going to subsidise GPs.” It is not about subsidising GPs. The minister should be out there finding ways to ensure that the people in west Belconnen get good health care. This is the model that the people of west Belconnen have embraced, and she will not provide a simple $200,000 extra funding to ensure this gets off the ground so that some of the poorest people in Canberra get great medical service.
I commend the model to the minister. I commend the committee members for the report. I think it could have gone further, but this is not the end of it. We have to work diligently to ensure that we have good health services.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.48): I thank the committee for the work they have done. I thank Jacqui Burke for her role in that as well and for quite forcefully making her points here this morning. I note that the committee has made some very practical and excellent recommendations. The most important recommendation to me is recommendation 1 at paragraph 2.16:
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government investigate the possibility of incorporating provisions in crown leases to protect community interests.
That is so important. The current circumstances in Wanniassa would be different if that provision had been in legislation and in our crown leasing arrangements before now. But that is a criticism that is levelled at all previous governments in this place.