Page 2430 - Week 06 - Thursday, 24 June 2010

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MR COE: Minister, given energy efficiency will be one of the features of the new properties you are constructing, how will you be assessing the applicants for those new properties?

MS BURCH: Applicants for Housing ACT properties will be assessed according to Housing ACT protocols.

Hospitals—waiting times

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, a letter tabled in the Assembly last night from ACT Health to a doctor in relation to category 1 urgent elective surgery patients states:

… please re-categorise this patient as a ‘2a Staged Procedure’ and return by fax …

Minister, doesn’t this letter show that patients are being downgraded because they cannot be operated upon within the prescribed period of 30 days rather than because of any change in their medical condition?

MS GALLAGHER: No, it does not. The letter, and I note Mrs Dunne read half of the final sentence in a paragraph of a letter which we went through last night—

Mr Smyth: No, we didn’t go through it because you left it out.


MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, the interjections every time I get to my feet are intolerable. I cannot answer a question if every time I get to my feet all of them start barking. It is just impossible, and shows that they are actually genuinely not interested in the answer.

The letter, and perhaps I have to read it very slowly for Mrs Dunne to understand it, says, in the first paragraph:

… your Category 1 patients that are currently unable to be accommodated in your contracted operating time.

So it does not say that they are unable to be accommodated within 30 days; it says “within your contracted operating time”. It continues:

According to the ACT Health Waiting Time and Elective Patient Management Policy, this category is for patients requiring admission within 30 days ‘ … for a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point that it may become an emergency’ and that ‘Doctors who add a category 1 patient to the waiting list must ensure they are available to perform surgery within the 30 day period.

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