Page 162 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 16 February 2011

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It is a sad day. I believe that Mr Doszpot has used this particular motion as a platform, as a ramp, against the Al Grassby statue. His pettiness continues to march onwards. I am sad that Ms Bresnan did not see the true nature and the true intent behind the motion. I shall not be supporting the motion as amended.

Mr Hargreaves’s motion, as amended, agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.39 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Hospitals—waiting lists

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on 15 February, you stated to the Assembly:

Some of the advice I have got from doctors themselves is that they do categorise incorrectly, that they do that knowingly … solely on the grounds that they want that person to have surgery, and to have it in a timely fashion.

Minister, what does it say about the current state of the health system in the ACT when doctors do not have confidence in the waiting list system?

MS GALLAGHER: I think the issue that the doctors go to—and one doctor in particular has said it to my face but I have heard it anecdotally from other senior surgeons at the hospital who deal with the frustration of incorrectly categorised people—is that the demand for elective surgery continues to grow and we are at our capacity point about how much more we can deliver. That is requiring us to look at other alternatives to increase our throughput. We are doing 10,000 separate operations a year, but 10,000 people are joining the list.

As to what motivates particular surgeons to take the decisions they take, or how they categorise patients on their public lists as opposed to the work they do in their private rooms, they are really questions that only surgeons can answer.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what measures will you be taking to ensure that doctors can have confidence in the waiting list system?

MS GALLAGHER: The government has been working with the surgical services task force since 2007 to improve processes around elective surgery waiting list management. We have good buy-in from a number of surgeons, but the majority of surgeons, because of workload and the way they run their private rooms and their public work at the hospital, do not necessarily participate in that forum.

But there is a range of ways in which we are trying to improve the waiting list management at the hospital. Some of it goes to extra operating time. Some of it is going to be reviewing the current lists and sessions and seeing whether some doctors who have many sessions and maybe do not use them all up can have those sessions reallocated to surgeons with larger numbers of patients waiting to be seen.

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