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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 February 2016) . . Page.. 424 ..

into homes of their own, through public housing, community housing, private rentals or homes of their own. There was a particularly positive announcement from the federal opposition this week starting a conversation around negative gearing and capital gains tax, two of the levers that the ACT government does not have responsibility for. But we do have responsibility for providing affordable housing. We have the highest amount of public housing in the country. We are not privatising our public housing, as the New South Wales government is doing. Our homelessness services provide the best possible support in keeping people out of homelessness.

Hospitals—infection rates

MR SMYTH: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, according to a recently released AIHW report, Canberra public hospitals have the highest national rate of the infection staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia also called SAB or golden staph. In 2014-15 the ACT rate was 0.84 cases per 10,000 days of patient care. This is the second time in five years that the ACT has had the worst national result. Patients who develop golden staph are more likely to suffer complications that result in longer stays in hospital, and the most serious infections can result in death. They also result in potentially unnecessary increases in the cost of hospitalisation. Minister, why has Canberra consistently higher rates of golden staph than the rest of the country?

MR CORBELL: Canberra Hospital does not have consistently higher rates but we do see exceedences above national averages from time to time. This is common in a teaching hospital of the size of the Canberra Hospital where there is a relatively smaller number of people being treated compared to larger jurisdictions. So any variance can show up as a larger percentage change.

This is a common issue with statistics in relation to these types of matters. I am sure that Mr Smyth would be aware of it. But I would refute the suggestion that the ACT consistently sees figures above this level. We do not. But we do see infection rates vary from time to time. I will not be taking my advice from the Liberal opposition when it comes to how we are placed compared to other jurisdictions. I will be taking my advice from the clinical leaders on these questions, including people such as Dr Peter Collignon at the Canberra Hospital and the ANU, who comprehensively addressed this issue when these statistics were released earlier this year.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, what are you doing to reduce golden staph infections in Canberra’s public hospitals?

MR CORBELL: That is just a silly question. What does Mr Smyth think I should do? I am not an infectious diseases expert. My responsibility—

Mr Hanson interjecting


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