Page 5711 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 6 December 2011

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MR HARGREAVES: Minister, how many category 2 patients are from New South Wales and what influence does the government have over the influx of people from New South Wales?

MS GALLAGHER: In the emergency department the impact from New South Wales is the lightest in all of the specialities. In cancer I think it can be up to 50 per cent; in elective surgery it is around 30 per cent. I think the latest information—I will check this—is that emergency presentations from New South Wales are about 15 per cent of all presentations. They are in the more serious categories—category 1 and category 2—because they are the patients that will be transported quickly from other hospitals to the ACT if they need a higher level of treatment.

It does impact. We are remunerated for that through the cross-border health agreement, but again I think it is a very important principle of emergency department management that those who are sickest get seen first and so categories 1 and 2 are the patients that are seen ahead of categories 3, 4 and 5. It does mean at times that the less urgent categories will be required to wait.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, why is it that only 54 per cent of patients presenting for category 4 are treated within clinically acceptable times?

MS GALLAGHER: Category 3 and category 4 are the areas where the longest waits are incurred. We do meet the performance in categories 1, 2 and 5. When you compare that data with the August data, and indeed the data from the AIHW, you can see that the reforms that are being put in place are improving emergency department performance overall. I think it is heading in the right way but, yes, categories 3 and 4 are the areas of pressure for both emergency departments. We have set ourselves the target in the government priorities to have 70 per cent of all presentations seen on time. That is the national average. This report card and the latest data that I have just provided today show that we are on track to meet that.


MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, last week the Productivity Commission handed down its research report titled Early childhood development workforce. This report paints a damning picture of a range of issues associated with the Australian childcare sector and the impact on that sector and the families engaged in that sector which will come about when government policy changes in relation to the sector are implemented, beginning on 1 January next year. These include workforce training, the ability of the sector to comply with the new standards, the impact of government policy changes on families and the childcare sector and an increase of 15 per cent in the cost of childcare. Minister, does the Productivity Commission’s assessment of the impact of government policies on families and the childcare sector accord with the government’s assessment? If not, why, and on what basis do you not agree with the Productivity Commission?

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