Page 163 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 16 February 2011

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We are exploring all the avenues in the private system, which we previously have not been able to do because of concerns from surgeons about putting that work out to the private sector. We have managed to crack that this year. About a hundred work orders have already been completed in the private system. And part of it is the ongoing dialogue we are having now around the Auditor-General’s report and how we implement the changes, including the requirements for forms to be correctly filled out, the requirements for those forms to leave the private rooms as early as they can, the communication that exists between surgeons and the surgical booking staff and the communication that goes to patients from the surgical booking unit.

I can provide the Assembly with a full list of the comprehensive work program that is in place to improve the management of the list, but it is not just the management of the list; it is actually increasing the throughput at the same time.

MR HANSON: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, is it the case that waiting times for category 2 are so long that placing patients as category 1 is the only way in which surgeons feel that they can actually have their patients operated on within a reasonable time frame?

MS GALLAGHER: Certainly it is category 2 where we see the longest times where patients are waiting outside a clinically recommended time frame. But, also, the majority of the procedures fall into category 2. Having said that, it is a situation that compounds itself. If category 2 patients are being categorised as category 1 patients incorrectly, then category 2 patients are the ones that miss out, because extra lists have to be provided for category 1 patients who are not necessarily actually category 1 patients. It feeds on itself in a way.

We do require the surgeons to categorise their patients correctly. That goes some way to being able to manage the list more effectively. If everybody was doing that, I think some of the pressures that we have been seeing around upgrading and downgrading of patients, although it is a relatively small component of the list, would not occur.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, with regard to capacity constraints, how many elective surgeries do you consider that you will be able to actually achieve on an annual basis?

Ms Gallagher: Additional?

MR HANSON: The figure you have quoted, that 10,000, is that the capacity or do you anticipate you will be able to extend that out to, say, 11,000? What is the capacity once you are using the whole system, be it private, Queanbeyan and other areas?

MS GALLAGHER: This year we are forecasting an extra 800 procedures with the extra money that has come from the commonwealth and the work that we are putting

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