Page 1027 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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We remain very focused on improving service delivery. I made that a priority when I became health minister late last year. It remains a priority for me. That is why we are focused on extra beds, extra doctors and nurses and extra capacity to meet this unprecedented increase in demand—a five per cent increase in the most recent quarter, compared to the previous reporting period.

Those are the circumstances. Like the previous minister, I as the current minister will continue to restate the context in which our hospitals perform and how comparisons with other measures need to have regard to those facts.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, if the ACT is so unique, why did we have some of the best waiting times for emergency departments in Australia prior to the significant decline under Labor over the last decade?

MR CORBELL: I would not take Mr Hanson’s word for it, Madam Speaker. I will certainly be very happy to seek some advice on those questions. What I would say is that under this Labor administration we have dramatically increased capacity. We put in place more beds, more doctors and nurses and the single largest investment in health infrastructure that this territory has ever seen—important investments like the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, the Canberra Region Cancer Centre, the new adult mental health facility, the new secure mental health facility, the new University of Canberra public hospital, new community health centres in Belconnen and Gungahlin, and upgrades in Tuggeranong. These are important investments in our community.

Mr Hanson: Point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order.

Mr Hanson: It goes to relevance, Madam Speaker. I was asking why it is that we have seen a decline in emergency department waiting times over the last decade. The minister has not gone to that point. He is listing a shopping list of other things. But the point is: why is it that there has been a decline in waiting times over the last decade, since Labor got into power?

MADAM SPEAKER: I would remind the minister of standing order 118(a) and ask him to be directly relevant to the question.

Mr Corbell: I have concluded my answer, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, are you planning for an increase in emergency department service in winter this year to ensure that the ED can meet winter demand?

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