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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2133 ..

point in time now when we will be able to leverage the private sector as much as we can and see improvements.

ACT Health and this government continue to work hard to improve the performance of elective surgery and people’s access to elective surgery across the ACT.

MR SESELJA: A supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Minister, why has the situation got worse, on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s figures, going from 72 days to 75 days?

MS GALLAGHER: The measure being used is the length of time for people who have been removed from the list. As members know, this period of time does cover the long-wait reduction program that we instigated to address long waits on the list. If you are removing people who have been on the list for a long period of time, then your median time and the wait, when it is displayed through those reports, will be longer.

The alternative is to ignore the long-wait list and to concentrate on people who have just joined the list and remove them very quickly. Then you will see a dramatic reduction in your median waiting list. It is a way that you can manipulate the figures. We have chosen not to do it. We have chosen to target those who have waited longer than reasonable for surgery and remove them from the list.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. With respect to waiting lists, given that the availability of beds is the major factor in it, has the government actually caught up in replacing the beds that the Liberals removed from the hospital system?

MS GALLAGHER: The latest data shows again that we were the jurisdiction that was increasing our bed numbers—I think up to 875 now—against a national decline in bed numbers. Bed numbers are central to the delivery of elective surgery because if you do not have the beds to put people in after they have had their surgery then you cannot do the surgery in the first place. So part of every year’s budget has been to increase and replace the 114 beds that went missing under Mr Smyth’s watch and to improve our bed numbers so that we have the capacity to deliver the surgery.

Mr Smyth: Prove it.

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Smyth, I have tabled—

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: While not wanting to respond to interjections, Mr Speaker, I have tabled the AIHW bed numbers report a number of times in this place, but Mr Smyth refuses to accept them. One hundred and fourteen beds went missing. We

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