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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (15 December) . . Page.. 4922..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

Members may be aware that the government has already indicated that it is giving consideration to potential relocation of the helipad at the Canberra hospital campus to move it to a location that is more effective operationally. At the moment when the helicopter lands with patients at the Canberra hospital the patients are required to be physically wheeled from the helipad to the hospital building through the maternity ward to get to the emergency department.

We are currently considering whether or not the helipad should be relocated to a location closer to the emergency department to allow patients who are transferred from the helicopter to get to the emergency department by a more direct route and certainly by a route that is less exposed to the weather. At the moment in very bad weather patients have to be taken off the helicopter, put in an ambulance and driven in the ambulance from the helipad to the emergency department. That is clearly not a desirable state of affairs. So we are investigating that.

I want to stress that flights into and out of the Canberra hospital are emergencies or are in response to an emergency. I have every confidence that SouthCare operates in accordance with their guidelines and in accordance with the expectations all Canberrans and people in the broader region have for a response by emergency aeromedical support.

In relation to governance issues, I will ask my colleague Mr Hargreaves to answer that question.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Corbell. I thank Dr Foskey for the question. The fact is that the board of management of the SouthCare helicopter is a joint activity. The government is only a partner in this. The government does not have total responsibility for the governance of the service.

Dr Foskey asked why it is that a particular suburban community group could not be placed on that board. I suggest that there is sometimes disruption in the suburbs of Isaacs, Wanniassa, Fadden and Macarthur-and I sometimes put that down to the deafness of Mr Mulcahy. I will not recommend membership of the board for a specific single interest community group.

DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. Are the operational guidelines for the helicopter public? If not, can they be made so?

MR HARGREAVES: I am not aware that they are public. I would doubt it. Operational guidelines for such things as emergency services are usually not made public. There is a certain risk management around that process. However, Dr Foskey, if you have specific issues you want taken up, if you drop us a line, I will happily take them up with the board chair on your behalf.

Urban development committee

MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. I understand that your government has established what is called the urban development committee. I further understand that one purpose of this committee is as a forum to discuss whole-of-government priorities, sequencing, demand-related issues and general timing of project readiness.


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