Page 4447 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009

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Mr Hanson interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: It is not funny, Mr Hanson.

Mr Hanson: I’m laughing at you, not the situation.

MS GALLAGHER: No, the answer is not funny. You are the only jokes in this place. It is not funny. If anyone has an extended wait in the emergency department, it is not ideal. However, with respect to the 159 other people seen on any other day, who are seen with the high standard, professional care that the emergency department provides, at times, because of the nature of the Canberra Hospital and how busy the hospital has been, that will result in some waits for patients. It is not something that I think is desirable, but I accept that on a busy day there are going to be waits. And in the instance that Mr Hanson refers to there was a wait involved.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary question?

MR HANSON: Minister, can you advise the Assembly what reviews have been conducted following the family’s experience and advise what measures are now being considered by ACT Health in response?

MS GALLAGHER: All complaints received to the hospital, whether it be through my office or through the hospital itself, are reviewed. They are reviewed clinically. I have seen the results of the advice from the hospital and the nature of the care provided in the instance that Mr Hanson spoke of. In the circumstances I am satisfied that, while there was a long wait, the care provided was adequate.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Minister, can you advise the Assembly how you will act to reduce our long emergency waiting times which, according to the last quarterly performance report and the latest AMA public hospital report card released just today, remain well below acceptable clinical standards?

MS GALLAGHER: They remain below in relation to category 3 and 4. In relation to category 1, 2 and 5, we exceed the national benchmark. All category 1 patients are seen on time—100 per cent; 85 per cent of category 2; and I think around 80 per cent of category 5. In relation to categories 3 and 4, that is the area we have been working on. I do not know whether Mrs Dunne has not been paying attention to the Health portfolio in the three years that I have been in charge of it. We are doing a number of things, some of which I do not know the opposition actually approve of because they have not come up with a view on them yet.

We have got the walk-in centres and additional beds. I think the AMA’s report today indicates that there have been 66 additional beds in the last financial year alone in the ACT health system. We think that is a little down on the numbers that we have on our records. But they have given us 66, so we will take those and we will raise them with the details that we have. It is about more beds, more nurses, the walk-in centre, the opening of the SAPU, which will open early next year, which is to take the surgical

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