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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 3977..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

project has great potential for further application here in the ACT as well as in other places in Australia.

Independent living is something that most of us—indeed everybody in this place—take for granted. But for a small number among us, it has historically been out of reach. That is why support accommodation models such as those pioneered by Abbeyfield are so important. They offer a great measure of autonomy to those who might otherwise not have experienced it or who never had the opportunity of experiencing it. The ACT government has been very pleased to have been able to contribute to the Abbeyfield disAbility House project in Curtin.

Health—services

MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Chief Minister in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on recent infrastructure investment made in the ACT's health system?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. The ACT government has made significant investments in the ACT health system since coming to government. More recently, we have made a number of significant investments which, working alongside other areas of improvement in the hospital, will, we believe, significantly improve services and pressure points at the hospital.

In this financial year we have allocated an additional $1.2 million to the emergency department capacity at both our hospitals. But, importantly, we have created a paediatric zone at Canberra Hospital in acknowledgment of some concerns raised by parents of their children's experience in the emergency department. It is quite a stressful place to be at the best of times.

A paediatric zone is now in place, which consists of paediatric beds, easy chairs, a waiting space and a small play area. The team for the paediatric zone will consist of two registered nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who will monitor, assess and treat children within the area.

We have also commissioned a ninth operating theatre at TCH to improve access to elective surgery. We have extended the hours of operating for the theatres at TCH to further boost surgical capacity. We will also be providing four additional extended surgical recovery beds. They will come on line in early 2007.

In addition, in February 2007 the new 14-bed medical assessment and planning unit will open. This unit will be known as the MAPU. It will provide fast-track assessment and care for older people presenting at the emergency department. It will also deliver improved diagnosis and care planning for people with complex medical conditions.

Also this year we have opened the new MRI centre at the Canberra Hospital. That centre will allow the Canberra Hospital to provide increased services to outpatients and shorten waiting lists for MRI. Importantly, it will provide greater research facilities and will, again, work nicely alongside the ANU medical school.


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