Page 2273 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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I have been clear in this place that there are improvements to be made, particularly in our long-wait patients, and they tend to be our less urgent category 2 and our category 3 patients. As we remove those long-waits from the list, there will be an impact on the median waiting time for the ACT elective surgery system, but we go into that with our eyes open.

I am setting ourselves a target of a 33 per cent reduction in people waiting too long for care. We are already seeing some positive results of that in the sense that we have got the lowest numbers of long-wait patients since we started recording this performance measure in 2003. So they are the best results that we have seen for seven years.

There is more work to be done, Mr Doszpot. But I would say that I have set some targets in terms of improving the elective surgery system. Those targets are going to be challenging to meet, but I am very focused, and I know the Health Directorate are very focused on meeting them.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, for category 2 patients, the waiting time has increased by two days since last year and by 11 days since 2007-08. By your measures of success, have you failed category 2 patients?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, I think the management of the waiting list overall is complex. I am not saying that it is not.

Mr Seselja: That is what they say when they can’t answer a question. They give it as complex.

MS GALLAGHER: It is not that I cannot answer the question. The issues are that, as we continue to deal with increases in demand for surgery and as we continue to see removals of long-wait patients from the list, there are going to be impacts on the waiting list overall. The waiting list is the lowest it has been for some time. The number of long-wait patients is the lowest it has been since 2003. The number of people being seen on time is not acceptable at this point in time, overall, and that is why I have set ourselves a target of improving that by 33 per cent.

Mr Smyth: For 10 years it has been unacceptable.

MS GALLAGHER: If we look back—and I know that Mr Smyth likes to measure it by how great they were doing when they were in—the simple fact is that they were not. You did not report your long-waits. Your waiting list was more than half of your throughput. If we had the same results that you were delivering, our waiting list would be about 5,700 people. It is not. It is 4,400.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: You reported your long-waits off your list? The long-wait patients are reported now and were first reported in 2003.

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