Page 38 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, why then does the Auditor-General say on page 5 that under your leadership:

The strategies implemented by ACT Health have not been adequate to address increased demand, and reduce the waiting lists for elective surgery.

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the auditor for providing us with that view. What that fails to acknowledge is the increasing demand for elective surgery, the 20 per cent increase in emergency surgery.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: During the time that this audit was being done, there was a 20 per cent increase in emergency surgery being performed at that hospital and—what—you can just absorb a 20 per cent increase in emergency surgery and still maintain your elective surgery—

Opposition members interjecting—


MR SPEAKER: Order! Stop the clocks. Mr Smyth and Mr Hanson, you are both warned for continual interjecting.

MS GALLAGHER: The auditor also acknowledges that the waiting list management is a complex process—and she goes to this in the report—that is influenced by practices of various parties within the system, including the doctors, and a number of factors, some of which are outside the control of ACT Health.

There have been ongoing discussions for my whole time in this job about how to improve the elective surgery waiting list at the Canberra Hospital and they are complex and they are hard. Change is hard and surgeons do not necessarily like change. To overhaul the theatre system requires significant change.

What we have done is to increase capacity. We have commissioned the dormant theatres that lay there under Mr Smyth’s leadership. We have commissioned the two dormant theatres; we have built three extra theatres; we have a neurosurgery theatre there—all about increasing our throughput. And what we have seen in the first six months of this year is a very significant increase in the amount of elective surgery being performed and the throughput that I have been talking about. As we deal with the backlog, Mr Speaker—(Time expired.)


MR SPEAKER: I would just like to draw members’ attention to the visitors in the chamber today. We have six graduates from ACT Treasury who are having an initiation day at the Assembly. I welcome you to the chamber.

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