Page 1844 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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The annual report is tabled in the Assembly, but I think the difference with the Local Hospital Network Council here is that in a small jurisdiction, with the representatives that sit on the council, and they are eminent leaders within the healthcare system here, they are able to provide very clear advice. They are able to focus on particular subjects and formulate recommendations which then can influence decisions that may be made in this place or may be made within the healthcare setting.

Dr Ian Pryor has just taken up the chair of the Local Hospital Network Council here. He chaired the forum on Saturday. I was able to congratulate him on his appointment. I think for him, along with the other council members, this is a good start in terms of the community engagement side of the Local Hospital Network Council’s work.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, are there staff in our public hospitals and our community health centres to assist people in their advance care planning?

MS GALLAGHER: The healthcare professionals do provide an important role in providing advice around consumers’ or patients’ rights in relation to planning their healthcare needs. They do this as a standard core part of their work and their relationship with individual patients. I think in relation to end-of-life planning there are different levels of decision making. There is certainly advice that can be provided and there is obviously treatment that can be provided, but there are steps that individual patients can take, whether it be through a plan that they write down, whether it be through a directive, if that is where people want to go, whether it be through decisions about palliative care or decisions about whether to have treatment or not to have treatment.

I think the issue is that it is vexed. Clinicians are often put in difficult positions if they do not understand what a patient’s wishes were and if they may conflict with family members. It can be a very confronting time in a family’s life. My own views around end-of-life decision making have changed and been shaped through the loss of family members of mine. I think at that time, when you are having to make those decisions, that job is made a lot easier if individuals have made some of those decisions themselves and have articulated that decision to those who would be put in the position of making the decision on their behalf, should it be required.

I think there is scope for further reform in this area to clarify the roles of clinicians, the responsibility of individuals and, indeed, the responsibilities of those next of kin or appointed decision makers when that plan is put into action.

ACTION bus service—enterprise agreement

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, at what stages are negotiations at for the next round of the enterprise agreement with ACTION buses?

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