A question to the Minister for Health on the subject of metropolitan health services - Modbury Hospital.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:44): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Health on the subject of metropolitan health services.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I understand that the minister had a tour of the Modbury
Hospital last Friday, with the member for Florey and the Premier. After the tour the Premier was so
moved that he announced a review of Modbury health services. My questions are:
1. What is the scope of the review?
2. Who is undertaking the review?
3. When will the review be completed?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and
Substance Abuse) (14:45): I thank the honourable member for her questions; they are important
ones. This is information I am very keen to shed some light on for the sake of those members of the
community in the north-eastern suburbs who are rightly passionate about the services that are
provided by the Modbury Hospital. I will try to deal with each of the questions the honourable member
First, the honourable member is right to mention that the Premier announced a review of the
services that are being provided by the Modbury Hospital. We have essentially had 12 months, or
thereabouts, since a large number of changes were introduced at the Modbury Hospital, and some
of those changes are delivering good results. As I mentioned earlier, we have seen the number of
elective surgeries successfully occurring at Modbury Hospital increase, and I am advised that that
figure is in the order of a 32 per cent increase in surgeries that have occurred at Modbury Hospital.
In this forum that might sound like just another statistic—we hear a lot of statistics in this
place and I can assure members that Health is full of them; I have read a few over the last seven
days—but that 32 per cent increase in elective surgeries that have occurred at Modbury over a
12-month period is actually a lot more than a number to the people who are the beneficiaries of them.
The sorts of surgeries we see take place at Modbury are things like breast cancer surgery, knee
surgery, foot and ankle surgery. For the people who are the beneficiaries of those surgeries, their
standard of living is demonstratively improved as a consequence of getting that surgery done. That
is a good thing.
So, in undertaking this exercise to review what we are doing at Modbury I want to be very,
very clear that there are good things that have occurred. We don't want to start making changes that
would unpick all that hard work to the extent that we start to see the benefits reversed, so the
challenge before us is to do a review of what is occurring at Modbury with the objective of
continuously improving what occurs for the residents of the north-east. That is what has been at the
heart of all the changes that have occurred up to this point, and that is why we are seeing a number
of benefits. We want that trajectory of improvement to continue so that all residents in the
north-eastern suburbs and the northern suburbs generally, within the NALHN health area, do get a
In respect to the honourable member's question as to who is leading the review, that is being
led by me. The Premier has asked me to undertake this exercise and it is something I am looking
forward to doing. The methodology that will be applied is pretty rudimentary: I will be talking to as
many people as possible, including constituents of the local community, many of whom we have
already met through the exercise of getting around last Friday. I will also be talking to representatives
of the local community, namely members of parliament, but also, critically, I want to hear directly
from clinicians, from doctors, from nurses, from allied health professionals who work at Modbury and
for them to provide feedback from their experience around what has occurred at Modbury in recent
Once I've heard all this information and have learnt as much as I can over a relatively
confined period—I will not put a specific date around when it will be concluded, but the Premier made
it clear last week that it would be a matter of weeks; that doesn't mean two or three weeks but it also
doesn't mean three or four months—we want to work through this as quickly as possible. Within a
matter of weeks we will be seeking to undertake this exercise and see what we can find out from it.
In respect to the first component—
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: The scope.
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: Yes, the scope, the first component of the Hon. Ms Lensink's
question, the scope is pretty much that everything is on the table. There is nothing we are ruling in
or ruling out, including, of course, the Liberal Party's new policy that was announced on day one of
my taking on the responsibility for Health. It's amazing how a reshuffle provoked a policy within the
Liberal Party, which is a good thing. You are getting a policy; that's a good thing.
The policy itself that the Liberal Party has proposed is not something that we are ruling out.
Everything is on the table. Of course, there needs to be a lot more thought and detail put into the
Liberal Party's policy because it essentially was a couple of dot points on an A4 piece of paper.
Nevertheless, the idea is being considered and what we want to do is contemplate, put all the detail
in behind it and put all the detail in behind every other option that is on the table to make sure we
end up achieving what our objective is and, like I said, that is continuous improvement for the
residents of the north-eastern suburbs when it comes to health and service delivery generally.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:50): Can the minister confirm that the review includes
surgical, medical and rehabilitation services, and also that it will look at implementation of
Transforming Health beyond Modbury?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and
Substance Abuse) (14:50): Quite simply, the review is looking at the services that are provided for
at the Modbury Hospital; that is the scope of the review. Everything that is encompassed within that—
and that is a broad scope, I think—is reasonably being looked at. The Hon. Ms Lensink mentioned
rehab services. One of the things I was able to do when I was at Modbury is already look at the
incredible facilities that are there now, and that is on the back of substantial investments the
government has made in recent years.
This government has been continuously investing in Modbury Hospital and we want that to
continue. We have already got commitments that we have put out on the record of what we intend
to do in the Modbury Hospital going forward. For instance, the rehab facilities that are there now are
outstanding, world class and the envy of many other hospitals around the nation. All of it is on the
table. I am not in the business, like I said, this early on of ruling things in or out. It is a genuine
exercise. We want to hear from people directly.
I should state that our objective, like I said, is to improve health care for residents within the
north-eastern suburbs and the northern suburbs generally. In terms of any changes that are
contemplated at Modbury, it is really, really important that we make sure that safety and the delivery
of safe and quality health care is at the centre of any decisions that are made. We want to be
committed to the fact that the politics will look after itself; it is the policy we need to focus on when it
comes to providing good quality services at Modbury. We won't be making a hasty political decision
in this instance. We believe, if we get the policy right that the politics will look after itself. Safe and
appropriate service delivery is going to be at the centre of any decision-making that we make at