Page 776 - Week 02 - Thursday, 25 February 2010

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a major tertiary teaching hospital in this region and that we attract staff of immense calibre to come and work, who want to work in our health system because of the role that TCH plays in the region, has immense benefit to us as a community. It means that a community of 350,000 has access to tertiary level services that other communities of 350,000 would have to travel for. We have an extremely dedicated group of professionals that work across our health system, not just in the hospital. The health system is much more than that.

The health system, I note, is the topic of discussion today, although Mr Hanson struggled to actually talk about the health system, which is made up of community health, preventative health, population health, private health. They are all very important areas and components to enable the entire health system to work. But I noticed Mr Hanson could not move his prejudice past the Canberra Hospital and focus on the health system more broadly. I think, when you do have a look right across the system, you have to accept that we have a wonderful health system here, staffed by wonderful professionals providing an excellent level of care. I think Mr Hanson’s MPI should have actually referred to the Canberra Hospital, because I know he certainly could not move past it.

He talked about fee for service, which is a point that I would welcome further discussion on as well, the exorbitant fees that are charged here, particularly by private specialists for their services. And they are found out, I think, in the reports on what people’s out-of-pocket expenses are here.

I note the opposition have been using this week the productivity data that is provided. It has a whole range of excellent indicators. I note one fact that they have not used is the fact that in this report—and it supports my argument that the ROGS data provides one source of analysis and does not deliver a comprehensive analysis of the performance of a health system—the ROGS data indicates that the ACT has the highest number of doctors in the country. On that raw analysis, doctors per head of population, we have the most doctors in the country.

We know for a fact that that is not the case in terms of doctors that are practising as doctors, because we know that we have one of the lowest—I think the lowest, next to the Northern Territory—GP rates in the country. Yet the productivity report, if you read it in isolation, will tell you that we have the highest number of medical practitioners of anywhere in the country.

I have been looking recently at performance in terms of access and demand at the Canberra Hospital, and I have to say that I am very happy with how the performance of the Canberra Hospital is going for the year to date. For the first six months of this financial year, over 54,000 people attended the emergency departments across our city. All category 1 patients were treated on time; 83 per cent of category 2 patients were seen on time; 61 per cent of category 3 patients; 57 per cent of category 4 patients; and 78 per cent of category 5 patients. Again, there are significant improvements there. We always do very well in categories 1, 2 and 5 but we are seeing big and continued improvements in categories 3 and 4.

When we look at the rates for access to elective surgery for the first six months of the year, there were 4,797 procedures, which I think exceeds the total of what was being

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