Page 22 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 February 2016

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how they can assist us not only in relation to elective surgery delivery but across the board. We must also be aware of the changing care requirements with a focus on evidence-based medicine. For example, it is import to assess alternatives to surgery that either negate the need for surgery or extend the time before people need it.

In a small number of areas, there are new ways of managing conditions that mean that there are medical options for care rather than surgical ones. ACT Health will be undertaking more research in this area and working with our surgical services task force to look at more areas where non-surgical interventions are safe, successful, and better for the healthcare consumer. They will also investigate service responses that can delay the need for surgery by providing more effective interventions.

The directorate is also developing new approaches that ensure that patients who do need surgery are as well as possible prior to their surgical episode. There are already examples in the ACT of initiatives that provide patients with physical regimes that maximise their fitness for surgery and therefore maximise their recovery from surgery. For example in orthopaedics, we have physiotherapists who work with people who need hip and knee surgery to first determine whether physiotherapy may be a better short or long-term option as well as provide patients with information on how to prepare for surgery and maximise their rehabilitation afterwards. As minister, I want to see a wider provision of services like this one that focus on patient needs before and after surgery that maximise outcomes and improve efficiency of our elective surgery services.

In conclusion, improving access to services, particularly elective surgery, is one of my key priorities as minister. The success of this new approach to managing elective surgery will not be achieved in isolation. We will need to continue to bring together our surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and administrators to establish this more integrated and seamless elective surgery model.

The government has increased the number of doctors and nurses to support additional elective surgery services and we have built and extended operating suites at the Canberra Hospital to manage increasing demand and through an additional operating theatre at Calvary public. We will get the long wait lists down as part of this blitz, but I know that there is significant work to be done to maintain it. I am confident that through a multipronged approach involving partners, relationships with clinicians and innovative processes and procedures, we will, over time, improve how patients access elective surgery.

This government remains committed to improving quality and timely access to care for all Canberrans, regardless of their financial means. I look forward to providing further reports to the Assembly on the results of this work later in the year. I present a copy of the statement, and move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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