Page 2287 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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expansion of elective surgery, because more people are being seen and therefore have to be treated in the outpatient clinics once they have had their surgery or in the lead-up to surgery.

We have also got an important program around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking cessation, which we will implement over the next two years. A subject that the Assembly has discussed in this place in the last month or so is around advance care plans—it is also being discussed by the Local Hospital Network Council at the moment—to provide better community awareness around the importance of advance care plans and support for completing them.

We will also provide $3.6 million to start off the obesity management service which will be established to improve the health of patients who are severely obese through coordinated intervention and prevention services. This is the first time that the ACT public health system—whilst we provide services to clients, this is a targeted and multidisciplinary approach to supporting those people in our community who are battling with their weight.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, how will this year’s budget assist in further improving elective surgery waiting times?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for the question. There is an extra $33 million for elective surgery to continue our elective surgery blitz that has been, I think, a feature of our health budgets now for the last three years in cooperation with commonwealth funding. This will allow us to provide over 8,000 elective surgery procedures in this financial year with the easing off of the commonwealth funding that was provided for the emergency department and elective surgery.

This is having a big impact on our elective surgery program. I would say that I think the waiting list remains—I think I saw a figure today—at around 4,700. But while we are removing more people from the list, we are getting more additions to the list. It seems a direct correlation that the more elective surgery you do, the more patients you generate to have more elective surgery. So that is something that we are having to watch closely.

I think the additions to the list have grown almost identically with the removals from the list. We are removing around 12,800 from the list every year and we are having about 13,000 join the list. So we are keeping an eye on that, but our median wait time is coming down, not that that is a great measure of the performance of elective surgery, anyway. But it is coming down.

I would say that we are the only jurisdiction in the COAG Reform Council’s report to have met all nine targets under the national health reform plan. We are the only jurisdiction that has done that. So there might be a few amendments made to Mr Hanson’s stump speech on elective surgery. We are seeing continued and pleasing improvement in this area.

MR GENTLEMAN: A supplementary question.

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