Page 1214 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015
substantive issue, the government will support the motion. I do not think I will offer any commentary on the personalities of either of the previous contributors. I will just leave it be.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 12.19 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, staff doctors at Canberra Hospital are threatening industrial action and they have warned that experienced doctors could leave the ACT. Minister, with the worst emergency department waiting times in the country, data being investigated and doctors threatening to strike or take industrial action, with bed occupancy levels at dangerous rates, according to the AMA and the director of the emergency department, with unacceptably long waiting times for elective surgery, with the maternity unit at risk of losing accreditation, with the lowest levels of patient satisfaction in Australia and the lowest bulk-billing rates in the country, with the lowest number of GPs per capita in Australia, and on and on, will you now admit that there is a serious problem with the management of our health system?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hanson for his question, but I do not agree with his characterisation. The reason for that is that of course he cites those issues that he asserts are of concern, and some of them are. Others are exaggerated. Of course he fails to acknowledge the enormously good work and positive outcomes that are being achieved across our health system.
He fails to acknowledge the over $800 million investment by the government in health infrastructure upgrades. He fails to acknowledge that we have, for example, great performance in areas like the lowest levels in the country of unplanned readmission following treatment. He fails to acknowledge the very significant and very positive response by the Canberra community to new services like our walk-in centres across the community. So he fails to acknowledge those things.
In relation to the matters reported in the media today to which Mr Hanson refers in part of his question, which relate to the proposal by some senior medical officers to undertake some protected action in the coming week, I deeply regret that those doctors feel they need to indicate their intention to do that. I restate my commitment and the commitment of my directorate to work with them to resolve outstanding concerns. I note that a number of the matters of concern are listed for a hearing in the Fair Work Commission on Monday. I look forward to the outcome of that, and I trust that, following the hearing in the Fair Work Commission, we will have a clear pathway forward to resolve these outstanding issues.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, what are you doing, as the most senior person in our health system, to address these doctors’ concerns and fix this impasse?