ROYAL SOUTH SYDNEY HOSPITAL
The Hon. DELCIA KITE: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Health and Community Services. Will the Minister please tell me how he will explain to the parents of nine-year-old Meagan Chow the need to cut the hours of the
casualty section of Royal South Sydney Hospital, so that its services are available only from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and not at all on weekends, when the Greiner Government can waste over $100 million on Eastern Creek Raceway and $300 million on an Olympic bid?
The Hon. R. J. Webster: On a point of order. It is very obvious from the length of the honourable member's question and the way in which she is now making a speech about Eastern Creek and other issues that the question should very clearly have been put on notice or ruled out of order.
The Hon. Delcia Kite: On the point of order. It is a very serious matter involving a child's death. I ask the Minister to allow me a couple of minutes to ask my question when he has already wasted over half an hour of question time.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I ask the honourable member to come quickly to the crux of her question.
The Hon. DELCIA KITE: Is the Minister aware that Meagan's parents took her to the casualty section of Royal South Sydney Hospital with a bad asthma attack at 8.15 p.m. on Wednesday, 24th March only to find the doors closed? Is the Minister aware her mother held her finger on the emergency button and banged on the door all to no avail? Is the Minister aware Meagan collapsed in her father's arms, was then raced to their doctor's surgery three minutes away but that he was out? Is the Minister aware that paramedic ambulance was called but that by this time her heart had stopped, that the heart beat was started again and that by the time she arrived at Prince of Wales Hospital she was dead? How many more deaths can we expect from people having heart attacks, asthma attacks, bashing and accident victims with the proposed closure and restricted hours of casualty sections at other public hospitals by this Greiner Government? One could be dead by the time one travelled through Sydney's traffic.
The PRESIDENT: Order! Notwithstanding the seriousness of the subject, I feel that the honourable member is now providing the House with too much information, to the extent that I suggest the honourable member might raise the matter in the adjournment debate.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: All members of this House would be deeply concerned and most sympathetic to the parents on the death of such a child. This is something about which all of us feel greatly. I noticed that the honourable member mentioned this death occurred on 24th March, about four weeks ago. However, the honourable member has not even bothered to contact my office about the matter nor has she bothered to write to me about it, nor has she sought to ascertain any other facts about the matter.
The Hon. Ann Symonds: Just be a bit decent.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will be decent. If members of the Labor party seek to use the death of a child in the way the honourable member is doing they will wear it back. I do not think any member of this House is less sensitive than any other member about the death of somebody in such unfortunate circumstances. If members opposite want to use question time in the way the honourable member has sought to use question time - no other member would seek to use it in that way - they should seek to find out the facts of the matter. If there is an appropriate matter which should be raised
in the House they should do so. I do not think any of us deny the right of members of the House to use the House in that particular way. The honourable member has asked the question. I shall seek an answer and provide a detailed response to the House.