Wide Bay Health Service, Perfomance – Parliament Question without Notice
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, Performance
Mr SORENSEN: My question without notice is to the Minister for Health. With reference to the waiting time for local constituents who are on the outpatient category 3 waiting list for their first specialist appointment I ask: has there been a change in the Wide Bay HHS in the percentage of people being seen within the recommended time as a result of the LNP government’s strong plan to revitalise front-line health services?
Mr SPRINGBORG: I thank the honourable member for Hervey Bay for his question. The short answer is yes, there has been a significant improvement. But before I go into the details, I would like to thank the honourable member for his very strong advocacy as the local member of parliament and also during his time as the mayor of his community. During that time he was a very strong and ardent fighter for improvements to a range of services, particularly health services. I know that the honourable member was a very strong supporter of the new St Stephen’s private hospital in his community which is collocated near the Hervey Bay Hospital. With 46 per cent of Hervey Bay residents being privately insured, that is going to assist in taking the load off our health service out there. I would also like to thank UnitingCare, Richard Royal and the team. This will be Australia’s first digital hospital.
The honourable member has also been a strong advocate with regards to improvements in oral health services, which will see a new significantly improved oral health facility opened up there within the next 12 months or so. There have also been enhancements with regards to medical oncology and radiation oncology which will see patients from his area no longer having to travel to Brisbane for essential cancer therapy as well. The honourable member has been advocating for the expansion of the emergency department, and that will also take some pressure off the Hervey Bay Hospital, because that has been one of the hot spots.
In relation to the member’s question, under Labor in March 2012, 85 per cent of local residents who were on category 3 waiting lists for outpatient appointments had been seen; now 90 per cent of 27 Aug 2014 Questions Without Notice 2781
those people have been seen within time. But more importantly, with regards to new audit processes being put in place by the Wide Bay HHS what we have seen is waiting times for an appointment with regards to outpatients being reduced by 49 per cent. So for those people who have been waiting clinically longer than the recommended time, there has been a reduction of 49 per cent.
There have been significant improvements with regards to endoscopies. Prior to our election in this place there were waiting times between eight weeks and six years; now what we are seeing is that the HHS is aiming for four weeks for endoscopy patients, so we are seeing significant improvements in that area. That is very much due to the hard work of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, the advocacy of the local member and also his neighbour, the member for Maryborough.
What is actually happening in the Labor Party? Whilst the Labor Party are busy putting union bosses in charge of electing their leader, what we have in Hervey Bay is a member who is busy fixing the health services in his area. The mess that the Labor Party left in his area is now being fixed by the honourable member and this government.