Page 4598 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 October 2010

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MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the supplementary. The government went to the last election with a very ambitious range of commitments in the health area. A focal point of our campaign was to deliver additional beds, new operating theatres, to invest in e-health technology, to build a new neonatal intensive care unit, a new state-of-the-art neurosurgery suite, to provide extra money for aged care and rehabilitation, for mental health, for cancer treatment and for workforce development. And the government has started work on all of these initiatives.

In two years, we have been able to make progress or meet those commitments that we have made to the community. I am very confident that at the end of this term in office we will have a very proud record in terms of delivering on our commitments. But, more importantly, the people of the ACT will have access to a greater range of services, more modern and up-to-date technology, more workforce and additional specialties that have not been offered here before, in terms of building up their public healthcare system. This is a work in progress but I am very pleased, two years on, that we have made the progress we have. It is really to the credit of those working in ACT Health and with our partners in the non-government sector that we have been able to make the sort of progress we have to date.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, when you talked about the extra capacity that the government delivered to our health system through extra beds and services, did you say how these new services would enhance the operation of our public health system overall?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you for the supplementary.

Mr Hanson: Explain also why access block has got worse while you are at it.

MS GALLAGHER: I am happy to go to that if you would like, Mr Hanson, although it would be disorderly for me to respond to interjections across the chamber. When you look at the additional services and the additional beds that have gone into the public health system, what you can see—a key measure there is bed occupancy. We have set ourselves the target of 85 per cent. We have almost met that target for the first time this year. For the first time in the history of self-government, as far as this number has been recorded—

Mr Smyth: Are you sure?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, because we introduced the bed occupancy performance reporting. We set the target at 85 per cent, and I believe it is at about 86 per cent. The issue with access block is that access block had been coming down. There was an issue with the reporting—

Mr Hanson: Oh—

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