Page 403 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020

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Leave of absence

Motion (by Mrs Jones) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted to Mr Wall and Ms Lawder today for personal reasons.

Sitting suspended from 11.59 am to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Canberra Health Services—budget

MR COE: The question I have is for the Minister for Health. Minister, has the directorate been in discussion with you about Canberra Health Services’ financial position or the directorate’s financial position and were there concerns about the budget before the recent appropriation?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. The ACT Health directorate is responsible for the local hospital network which in turn funds Canberra Health Services. I have regular conversations with both the Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services about the various pressures that are on our budgets as we see a growing city and a need to support not only the ACT but the surrounding New South Wales region, and an increasing complexity of patients. We know that there is increasing demand for health services and it is an ongoing conversation about how we ensure that we fund those.

The midyear review of course will appropriate an additional $60 million for Canberra Health Services to ensure that we can meet the demand that we have been seeing particularly for additional emergency surgeries and additional complexity in the emergency department while not compromising the delivery of our elective surgery targets. And we are on track.

Last year we delivered a record 14,015 elective surgeries for the ACT, an increase in elective surgeries that is continuing beyond population growth. We are on track to deliver the target of 14,250 elective surgeries this year. The government made a decision that we did not want to compromise that on the basis of the demand that we have been seeing in our system.

MR COE: Minister, in those discussions with the directorate, was a likely scenario put to you that services would need to be cut, that you would not be able to meet the elective surgery target or there would be a freeze on new staff appointments or short-term contract renewals if a further appropriation was not made?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his supplementary question. I think I have been quite clear that, in fact, it was the case that we have continued to meet emergency department complexity, we have continued to meet increased demand for emergency surgeries and, of course, that has put us in a position

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