Page 5244 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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MS FITZHARRIS: I will have to take that question on notice, considering that, obviously, the past three months is the busiest time in any hospital emergency department. I will take the question on notice.

Hospitals—emergency waiting times

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, the table on emergency department waiting times in the ACT Health annual report for 2016-17, page 85, shows that the emergency departments at both Canberra Hospital and Calvary did not reach their overall timeliness target for all presentations in four out of the five triage categories. The only timeliness target met was category 5, non-urgent patients. Minister, why did ACT emergency departments not meet their timeliness targets in 2016-17, despite the hard work of all the staff?

MS FITZHARRIS: It is the case that we continue to make enormous strides in meeting those targets. We have set them high in recognition of the national benchmarks for emergency department performance. We do have some work to do. That work is continuing as our city grows, as we continue to make more investments in our emergency departments.

I note from the figures that we have made significant expansion in the emergency department at Canberra Hospital. In respect of the staffing of all of those new beds and access to new beds and new units within the Canberra Hospital emergency department, the staff fully came on line with those in July. So expect to see further improvements in the subsequent financial year.

MRS JONES: Minister, when was the last time the ACT public hospitals met all their timeliness targets?

MS FITZHARRIS: A snapshot in time is fairly impossible to give. What the AIHW report gives to us is a good sense of not only where we are tracking on our own data but how we compare across the country. I note again that in the AIHW report we have seen the ACT make the most significant gains in all aspects of emergency department care, including the proportion of presentations seen on time, the median waiting time and, in particular, the 90th percentile waiting time, which is the time within which 90 per cent of all patients start clinical care.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, can you guarantee that the performance data in the annual report referred to by Mrs Jones is accurate?

MS FITZHARRIS: There is reference to the system-wide data review that is currently underway and will be completed in March 2018. I tabled yesterday corrigenda to ACT Health annual reports for the past year and the prior year. All ACT Health data is coming, as it should, with the caveat that there is a system-wide health data review underway. It will be completed in March 2018. If we need to make subsequent amendments following the completion of that review, we will.

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