Page 311 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012
While the overwhelming number of elective surgery procedures continues to be undertaken within the hospitals, we have established partnerships with private providers in the ACT to increase access to care. The partnership provides particular support in those surgical areas where we have the largest number of waiting lists. This includes specialties such as ear, nose and throat surgery, orthopaedics and neurology.
For these specialties we have been able to select groups of long-wait patients that can be safely managed in the private sector, which reduces pressure on our public hospitals and reduces time waiting for care. All in all we have managed over 550 patients through the private provider arrangements since they began last year.
I am thankful to the private providers who have been part of this scheme, which demonstrates the benefits that can be achieved when we work together. We will also continue to work with the commonwealth government to ensure we meet our commitments made under those agreements.
As a nation we had to wait a decade to get a commonwealth government that recognised its obligations to the community to support public hospital services, and for the first time since Federation we have a government through national health reforms that has made a commitment to share the cost of growth in public hospital services.
While significant improvements have been made, I acknowledge there is more to do. There has not been a quick fix, but the efforts put in place over the past two years in particular show that we know how to fix it, that we have the cooperation and partnerships in place and we have the proof that the efforts are working.
Given the significant improvements that have been made to date, we will in future be providing these reports on progress against implementation in the Auditor-General’s report as part of the Health Directorate’s annual report.
Mr Hanson: Mr Assistant Speaker, I ask that the minister move that the report be noted.
MS GALLAGHER: I move:
That the report be noted.
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (3.50): It is important that I speak to this, particularly for the edification of new members who might, having listened to the minister’s spin there, have missed some of the history behind what was a very shabby episode in ACT Health.
In June 2010 this Assembly passed a resolution that the Auditor-General conduct this review, and that resolution came about because it became apparent that what was occurring in the Health Directorate was that people with a classification 1—that is, urgent patients who are meant to be seen within 30 days—were having their classification downgraded inappropriately, without clinical reasons, to make the stats