QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
ROYAL NORTH SHORE HOSPITAL WARD 9C
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Health and Community Services. Does ward 9C at Royal North Shore Hospital provide specialist hand surgery, rheumatology and orthopaedic care? Is the hospital planning to close ward 9C within the next few months as a cost-cutting measure? Does the hospital have to save $700,000 as a result of the Minister's productivity cuts? Will he intervene to keep ward 9C open?
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I am not aware of the matters to which the honourable member refers. The question of the way in which hospitals manage their affairs is very much a matter for their boards, and they take those decisions in consultation with practitioners in the area. As the matter falls within the administration of my colleague the Hon. Ron Phillips, I will draw it to his attention and provide an answer as soon as possible.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: Earlier today the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question concerning hospital beds on the North Shore. I am able to advise the House that my comments made at that time about the way in which this would be dealt with by the hospital were correct. I am able to indicate to the House that during the budget deliberations a number of options were considered for that hospital, one of which was the possibility of closing some beds across various services within the hospital. I am informed that at present more hospital beds are operating this year in that hospital than operated in the past year. I am able to confirm that if the hospital were looking at the reduction of beds, it would consult with the professional staff. In fact, it did consult with the professional staff, and I am now able to state that the hospital board has indicated in its budget deliberations this year that no hospital beds will be closed at that hospital.