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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1942


Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (15:09): My question is to the Minister for Health and, given today's sitting arrangements, I am looking forward to hearing the answer. Will the minister inform the House of how many patients are treated in private hospitals across Australia every year? What percentage of the estimated 95,000 people who have private health insurance in Reid can expect to have important information in their electronic records accessed and updated if they present at a private hospital for treatment?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (15:10): I very much thank the member for Reid for his question. He is particularly interested in getting better services for the people of Reid. I have been able to detail some of the achievements of the former health minister—or, rather, the Acting Leader of the Opposition, with all the qualities of Julia Gillard sitting in that chair. She is fully behind the leader She is fully behind Bill Shorten—just like Julia Gillard was behind Kevin Rudd! Remember him?

Ms King: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance: he was asked specifically about the electronic health record, and I ask you to draw him back to that question.

The SPEAKER: Thank you. The member can resume her seat.

Mr DUTTON: A fair point of order, Madam Speaker. The member rightly points out that in his electorate he has 95,000 people who hold private health insurance. Bear in mind that the member for Sydney, the former health minister, claimed that it was a great day for the country—the rollout of the personally controlled electronic health record, referred to affectionately as the PCEHR.

When you consider that 95,000 people within just the electorate of Reid have private health insurance, you would have thought that one of the achievements of the member for Sydney would have been that private health insurance patients, when they went into a hospital, could have had their record accessed and updated in that private hospital. We know that around 40 per cent of hospital patients are treated in private hospitals. And yet I explained to the House last week that, in the formation of the personally controlled electronic health record, the previous government forgot to speak to doctors and public hospitals about this record. But now it turns out that they forgot to speak to private hospitals. I will ask for the help of my colleagues here: you would have thought that, of 95,000 people, what—50,000?

Mr Hockey: Forty thousand!

Mr DUTTON: No! Let us say 20,000 of the 95,000—

Government members: No!

Mr DUTTON: Do you think 20,000?

Government members: No!

Mr DUTTON: No! They are too generous; not even 10,000, not even a thousand, not a hundred, not one—not one patient! Unbelievable! Do you know that this former government, this former minister who wants to be the Leader of the Opposition, spent $1 billion on the personally controlled electronic health record. About 10,000 Australians had a record uploaded by their doctor. But we know that people who go into emergency departments and people who go into private hospitals cannot have their record accessed, in many cases, except in, out of the 150 electorates, just one electorate—

Government members: Which one?

Mr DUTTON: Now my colleagues ask, 'Which electorate?' It was one electorate: the electorate of Sydney. But they did not get around to the other 149.

Mr Truss: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.