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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1199..

MR BARR (continuing):

seriously. We have provided additional levels of support in terms of counselling and other services to ease the transition. But it has been very positive and the new school environments are a considerable improvement on what was available previously. Schools overall are benefiting from the reforms of 2006.

Health—acute care

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher, in her capacity as minister for health. Minister, could you update the—

Mr Mulcahy: I seem to know the question.

MS MacDONALD: Sorry, Mr Mulcahy, were you wanting to say something?

MR SPEAKER: Never mind Mr Mulcahy; just come to the question. Order, Mr Mulcahy!

MS MacDONALD: Minister, could you update the Assembly on recent investments the ACT government has made in acute care in the ACT health system?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. Since coming to government, the Stanhope government has committed increased investment in renewal of our health system. In fact, we have seen a 60 per cent increase in the health budget—over $250 million. The increases have meant more beds, more nurses, more doctors, more elective surgery, more mental health services, more cancer services and more public dental services.

In the past two weeks, the government has opened the medical assessment and planning unit at the Canberra Hospital, which is the latest demonstration of our improvement in access to health services for the people of Canberra. This new investment, at a cost of almost $3 million per annum, includes a 14-bed unit to streamline admission and intervention processes, facilitate early consultant review and expedite multidisciplinary review. The purpose-built unit—built at a cost of over $1.25 million—will provide a much better environment for complex medical patients to have their diagnosis confirmed and treatment commenced.

The MAPU is designed as a short-stay ward, specifically staffed and equipped to receive medical patients for assessment, care and treatment. The type of patient who would be targeted for the MAPU is someone who presents to the emergency department who may have previously experienced an extended wait in the emergency department while they had their complex medical history assessed and reviewed by a number of different health professionals. Instead of waiting in the emergency department, staff from the MAPU attend the emergency department specifically seeking out this type of patient and ensuring that they can get them into a ward setting and have the processes of review and diagnosis undertaken in a much more comfortable environment.

We are hoping that the MAPU will enhance the capacity of the emergency department by ensuring the early transfer of these patients out of the emergency department and into a ward setting. Evidence shows much better long-term outcomes if patients are

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