Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 12 August 1998
Parliamentary Record 8
Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS - Wednesday 12 August 1998 region will be just one of the issues that will have to be faced. We are working on alternative solutions and, hopefully, we will have in place some form of vehicular and pedestrian operation before the end of the week. Hopefully, the kids will be able to get to school tomorrow and people will be able to move backwards and forwards across the river by late this afternoon. Faulty Dialysis Equipment M r RIOLI to MINISTER for HEALTH, FAMILY and CHILDRENS SERVICES Yesterday, the minister revealed his ignorance when asked about the old and faulty dialysis equipment his department is using. Madam Speaker, I seek leave now to table correspondence which confirms that the use of old and faulty equipment also exposes the Territory to the risk of legal liability. Leave granted. M r RIOLI: As the minister has had 24 hours to prepare himself on this subject, will he tell Territorians why his department is still using this life-threatening equipment? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I look forward to seeing the correspondence and I will endeavour to provide an answer. However, I must express some cynicism about the way the opposition has produced this material. Yesterday, the memo that was produced was a dated in February of this year. It was a memo from the clinical manager of the Renal Dialysis Unit to the manager of Royal Darwin Hospital. It is a good thing that a memo was written expressing concern about one part of the operation. It shows that the culture which is inculcated into the staff is that they can write freely to the manager when they have a concern about any part of the operation, and they can expect a result. When the opposition trots out memos that have been dropped from a computer - and this particular memo has been dropped from an individuals computer because it is an unsigned memo - it should be aware that, whilst it may give them one day of some sort of notoriety by expressing the fact that there may or may not be problems in the Renal Dialysis Unit, the point could be reached rapidly where managers would become fearful to write honestly, expressing their concerns about a part of the operation, without wondering whether their written concerns would appear in some dropped copy in the parliament in the future. That is, in itself, a very bad thing. With regard to the claim by the member for Arafura that old equipment is being used at the hospital in the haemodialysis unit, I have some further information on that. As I said, the clinical manager wrote expressing concern. The Nightcliff Renal Unit has 18 machines, and Royal Darwin Hospital has 6. The issue was raised in February because various models and makes of machines required separate training for both staff and patients in their usage, and some older machines were involved. As a result of that and other recommendations and observations in the department, submissions came through. The submissions were responded to with a S3.3m increase in the renal dialysis program in the last budget. Following that budget increase, tenders were let. In the interim period before the tenders were approved, 6 machines were rented in May 1998 to overcome the problem. The tender was finalised in July 1998. Six new machines arrived in July 1998 and a further 6 are scheduled for arrival in September and October. As I also indicated yesterday there are no old machines in the unit at present. In both units, no machine is older than 2 V2 years, and all machines are working competently. I might add that the contract that was eventually awarded, which is a 5-year contract, includes the supply of dialysis chairs, dialysis machines, a reverse osmosis unit, consumables, a computer control system, and a technician to service machines and equipment at Royal Darwin Hospital and the Nightcliff Renal Unit. Members inteijecting. M r BURKE: When the opposition says in this Chamber that I am ignorant about the department, it should reflect on the sorts of observations it makes in this House with a view to obtaining some short-term gain. Whilst I am on my fee t... Members interjecting. M r BURKE: Whilst I am on my fee t... Mr Bailey: It is called Question Time. Mr BURKE: Who is the opposition spokesman on health? Not only are they all the leader of the opposition, but they all pretend to be the opposition spokesman on health. I have had questions on health from the member for Stuart and the member for Amhem. If I were shadow minister for health, I would ensure that I asked all the questions on health, 286
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