Page 2653 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 28 June 2011

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with our views around providing the best health services that we can to the prison population, that is exactly why this issue remains a live one for this government to consider. It is hard, it is difficult and it will be very difficult to implement without the support of all stakeholders. But I think that, from a public health point of view, it is an issue that deserves very careful consideration and also in the future it deserves leaving the door open for this. If we are not able to implement it immediately then it needs to be kept open as an option for the future because I believe common sense will prevail at some point and that people will be prepared to accept that this is the way of the future.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, have the CPSU, as representatives of prison guards, engaged in the review that has been undertaken by Michael Moore?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. I will have to check on their level of engagement. It certainly was an issue in the Burnet report where they failed to engage—in fact, they refused to engage—with the reference group that was established to monitor that work over a period of time, over about a year’s work. The CPSU refused to engage. Indeed, I ended up meeting with them and asking them to engage so that they could put their views forward.

So I hope that they have taken the opportunity to engage in the work that is being done, which is just focusing on this issue, by Michael Moore. But I will undertake to get back to you about whether they have turned up to some of the meetings.

Hospitals—waiting times

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in your media release “Quarterly health report shows demand up: services improving”, issued on 8 April 2009, you stated, “We will continue to work with clinicians at our hospitals to develop additional initiatives to improve emergency department waiting times.” Since 2009, the number of people waiting longer than clinically appropriate time frames has increased. Why are people waiting longer than ever in our emergency departments?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Coe for the question. I do not have the—is it April 2009?

Mr Hanson: It is 8 April 2009.

MS GALLAGHER: I do not have the report in front of me but I know that in the last year in particular there has been deterioration in categories 3 and 4. Essentially, that is due to more presentations coming to the emergency department. What we are seeing at the moment is a record year. We are seeing that activity is up by 5,000 presentations over the year. I will check that figure, reply and correct the record if I have to. What we have done in the last few months is employ three additional emergency department physicians to assist us to see people and to improve access to care, particularly for categories 3 and 4.

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