Page 3066 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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was here last year. Before the opposition jump quickly to say “junket”, I should indicate that this is my first overseas trip since joining the Legislative Assembly. I am going for seven days. It is fully funded out of my office and I am visiting three countries in seven days over there, which include Denmark and Norway, and this has been at the invitation of the Danish minister for health. We will be visiting a number of hospitals.

The Danes have been at the forefront of e-health technology and implementation. They actually introduced the first electronic health record back in 1962, so there are certainly 40 years of learning that we can take from the Danish lead on e-health. I will also be visiting a number of hospitals in Norway where they are doing very significant rebuilds of their health system. In Denmark I will be visiting one of the most modern and progressive hospital campuses in the world, at Aarhus, a regional centre, I am told, of similar size and characteristics to the ACT.

I am looking forward to that opportunity. I think it will give me some really good learning about how we apply our own e-healthy future initiative here in the ACT and make sure that we learn from any mistakes or any advice that the Scandinavian authorities can provide us with.

In the estimates report I said I would provide to the Assembly by the end of the June period the budget overruns—well, they are all overruns—or the budget performance of Calvary Health Care and Canberra Hospital over the past three years. I can report to the Assembly that ACT Health provided an additional $206,000 in 2006-07, $3.5 million in 2007-08 and $1 million in 2008-09 to assist Calvary to meet higher costs in each of those years. Total funding by the government to Calvary towards the cost of running public hospital services was $97.945 million in 2006-07, in 2007-08 it was $108.78 million and in 2009-10 it is $116.812 million. During those budget years where did see budget overruns, cost weighted separations increased by 1.9 per cent in 2006-07, 4.6 per cent in 2007-08 and are forecast to be 4.4 per cent in 2008-09.

In Canberra Hospital the operating deficit was $11.4 million in 2006-07, $17.7 million in 2007-08 and a projected $15.2 million in 2008-09. During that time cost-weighted separations increased by 6.9 per cent in 2006-07, 10.2 per cent in 2007-08 and 5.2 per cent in 2008-09. I should say also that this, I think, was linked to the potential purchase of Calvary. The government has not used financial performance as a motivation to enter into discussions with Calvary Health Care about the proposed purchase. The overwhelming motivation has been to consider the financial benefit to the community while ensuring high-quality hospital services to the north of Canberra.

Planning by ACT Health supports a significant increase in health infrastructure and, as I have said on a number of occasions in this house, under the current arrangements any proposed capital outlay for the Calvary Public Hospital site would be treated as a grant to the benefit of a third party and at the expense of the territory’s own operating result. Therefore, it is the government’s preference to see capital outlays remain as a financial asset for the territory, and that is certainly the position that we have taken on Calvary. Whilst I have given those figures based on a recommendation of the estimates report, I do beg for caution. We have not used financial performance, and the fact that both hospitals have been dealing with increased activity over those three years has meant that they have required additional appropriations to their budget.

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