Page 2148 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 22 June 2010

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getting access to surgery. How an individual gets access to their surgery is a matter between the doctor and the patient, and the availability of the required treatment staff and beds, at the Canberra Hospital or at Calvary hospital.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary?

MR HANSON: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, why does it take a carer of a Canberran with special needs to take their plight to the opposition and to the media before action is taken?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, it does not, Mr Speaker. Over 10,000 operations are performed across Canberra hospitals on the public waiting lists every single year. The procedures around that are based on clinical need, urgency, availability of staff and capacity within the hospital. That is the way those decisions are made. That is the way those decisions should be made.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, is it not true that single and very regrettable and often very painful episodes, as we see being trotted out, are not necessarily symptoms of systemic failure in the hospital system?

Mr Hanson: Double the national average.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson!

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. I think the perspective that Mr Hargreaves is trying to bring to this debate is that, whilst you can identify individuals that are unhappy and unhappy often for valid reasons, the hospital deals with hundred and thousands of patients and presentations every year, dealing with Canberrans who need access to the healthcare system. And that healthcare system provides them with top-quality care.

It is a human-based system. Mistakes will be made. Communication will not always be great or as well as you would want it to be and sometimes people will have to wait. If the service is not available, if there is no specialist, if there is no capacity, if there is no ability to do the work in the private system, then at times the more urgent people will be seen first. And that means others will have to wait. However regrettable that is, it is the way the system works.

Capital works—projects

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in response to the ACT government’s infrastructure submission Dr Paul Mees of RMIT said, “These people are not serious.” Minister, why has the ACT government failed to win funding for projects for Infrastructure Australia and what is your response to the comments from Mr Mees?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not read those comments in their entirety but, from memory, a number of our submissions to Infrastructure Australia were rated in the

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