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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2655 ..

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Minister for Health

Motion of censure

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (10.01), by leave: I move:

That this Assembly censure the Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, for her ongoing mismanagement of the Health portfolio and for having misled the community and this Assembly in relation to ACT Health’s practice of requesting doctors downgrade urgent elective surgery patients.

It is not a trivial matter to bring forward a censure motion against a minister, and I do not do so lightly. This has been as a result now of months, if not years, of ongoing neglect from Katy Gallagher in the management of this portfolio. Although the mismanagement is well documented, what has come to light over recent weeks is not only the mismanagement but her misleading of the ACT community and misleading of this Assembly with regard to elective surgery waiting lists.

With regard to her mismanagement of the health portfolio, elective surgery waiting lists are but one area where we are falling behind in the ACT. Not only do we have the longest waiting times for elective surgery in Australia, but also we have the lowest number of GPs. We are some 70 short per capita, the lowest number in Australia. Bulk-billing rates are the lowest in Australia. Our costs in delivering health, at 11.1 per cent, escalating each year, are the highest in the country per capita. And what we have seen is that, in accordance with the latest AIHW report, our hospitals are the most inefficient in the country.

We have incidents of bullying, both systemically in ACT Health and specifically the case in obstetrics. The other problem we have seen in obstetrics is what Katy Gallagher described as a “10-year war” in obstetrics. We know of the problems in our emergency departments and the unsatisfactory waiting times, particularly for urgent and semi-urgent categories. We have seen the debacle of the Calvary hospital purchase that has led to significant disruptions in Calvary hospital and across ACT Health, disruption across the community and the pain that caused a significant number in the community, particularly the Palliative Care Society in relation to Clare Holland House.

We have seen the ongoing problems with cancer services—the inability of patients to access some of those services and the utter breakdown in communication with patients. We have seen staff shortages across a number of critical categories—in particular, elective surgery categories for urology. We have seen mismanagement and miscommunication in other areas. We saw the dreadful case of an infant who was deceased from an unknown cause being sent a bill for a TB test after he was exposed to TB in the Canberra Hospital. We saw the mismanagement and miscommunication

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