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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3757..


Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the minister for health and community care. I have been informed of a case in which a South Coast woman, a renal care patient at Nowra Hospital, has been refused access to the renal unit at Canberra Hospital while on visits to her family here in Canberra. Can the minister tell the Assembly whether this incident represents a change in Canberra Hospital policy and, if it does, what the reasoning behind it is?

MR MOORE: I am not aware of the particular incident. I am aware of another incident of somebody being told by phone that access to the renal unit would not given. When I checked, that was not the case. Under the Australian health care agreement, we provide services to people, whether they are in the ACT or come from other places.

With the renal unit, we normally follow a booking procedure to ensure that there is a seat/bed for somebody at any given time. The renal services at Canberra Hospital are one of the areas at Canberra Hospital that have been under significant pressure over the last few years. That is why we gave a significant increase in money-from memory, some $400,000-to the renal unit. We did that to ensure we could meet pressures.

Because of the number of people who have problems that are treated through nephrology, I expect that we are likely to see a constant increase in the next few years in renal medicine. It is an area that I expect will need increasing funding.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Minister. My source has been contacted by constituents who are clients at the renal unit with concerns about understandings they have been given that the hospital plans to cut services offered by the renal unit so that patients currently receiving three dialysis treatments a week would be restricted to two. I wonder whether you can confirm that and, if it is the case, would that mean that some patients would have to travel to Sydney for additional treatment?

MR MOORE: We certainly would not expect a patient who is on dialysis and being treated at the Canberra Hospital to go to Sydney for one of their treatments. If the renal patients I know were given the opportunity and it was clinically appropriate to go to the renal unit twice a week instead of three times a week, they would jump at it, but certainly they will not be forced to do it. There will be no action like that that is not clinically appropriate, nor should people feel under pressure.

A message of the same kind was left at my office yesterday. It certainly came through to me. We will now be pursuing it. As this is the last question time for members, if I can find any details I will let you know in writing what the answer to the question is or how that concern has come about.

Gungahlin Drive extension

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services and is about his support for moving Caswell Drive to the east. Minister, in the documents you tabled regarding your approval of Territory Plan variation 138 on the Gungahlin Drive


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