The ACT's opposition will push for the "most significant form of inquiry" into the territory's health system, promising a royal commission if they are elected next year.
Acting Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has flagged the royal commission as one of the party's policies, saying he believes a wide-ranging inquiry would provide a pathway to fixing the health system.
But Mr Hanson will first call on Chief Minister Andrew Barr to commit to a royal commission and will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly next week. He will call for the commission to report by the end of 2024.
"No matter who is in power a royal commission would be very useful, I'd like the government to do it. I think it would be good for them and good for us and good for whoever is in government after 2024," he told The Canberra Times.
"If [the government] don't have the royal commission it would be a mistake ... and they are putting politics ahead of the health system ... and they're playing with people's lives.
"If [Health Minister] Rachel Stephen-Smith or Andrew Barr think they have all the answers why have we got the worst performing health system in Australia."
Mr Hanson said the ACT government was able to call a royal commission under the Royal Commissions Act, which was passed in 1991.
The legislation said the commission's establishment must come from the ACT's cabinet. A commissioner has never been appointed to conduct a royal commission in the territory and the Liberals have also never called for a commission.
Mr Hanson has pointed to a range of issues to support his call including the territory's long emergency department wait times, cardiologist warnings of a "dangerous deterioration" at the hospital and the fetal medicine unit losing its training accreditation
"We see this as a crisis. We see this as a significant crisis the government is unable to deal with and we're talking about life and death matters here," he said.
"We need to give confidence to the staff that something serious is being done to address the problems in the system.
"People are dying in our system where they shouldn't be and the royal commission is the most important, senior, most serious form of inquiry that can occur in the ACT and we think the situation in health warrants that."
But the Canberra Liberals have yet to put forward any other policies around health. Mr Hanson said the party will have policies around health before the October 2024 election but was not specific about what these would be.
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He also suggested if the Liberals won they would redirect money allocated to light rail to the health system. The opposition has already said it won't build the light rail to Woden if elected.
"There will be policies but the royal commission will be one of those policies," Mr Hanson said.
A royal commission would cost about $12 million, Mr Hanson said.
"This is a government that could spend nearly $2 million on a rebranding exercise then they can afford this," he said.
There have been a range of inquiries into the health system over recent years including a major review into culture, a review into paediatrics care and reviews into the cardiology and intensive care departments. But opposition health spokeswoman Leanne Castley said these separate inquiries had not brought forward solutions.
"To add to that it's clear that all of the small inquiries the government has handled themselves there hasn't been enough significant change," she said.
Mr Hanson said the commission would look at the entire health system including governance, organisation structures, resourcing, Calvary and the Local Hospital Network. He said primary health also needed to be examined and the federal government had a role.
"I think the federal government does have a role and I think that the royal commission would then provide recommendations to the ACT about where the ACT can engage with the federal government on it," he said.
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