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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1478..


MR BARR (continuing):

Our top five international markets continue to be the United Kingdom, the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand. This is a fantastic result. It is seen in those who are visiting the ACT for holiday purposes and also, importantly, those who are coming here for business. I am very pleased that we have been able to get these fantastic results. I thank Mr Smyth for the question.

Health—services

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for health. Minster, can you update the Assembly on recent strategies the government has announced to meet areas of need in disability services and our health system?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for her continuing interest in the health and disability portfolios. As members would be aware, the areas of need in disability and health continue to grow every year. This government has prioritised a number of strategies to address meeting that demand. This has been reflected in the announcements contained in the budget yesterday.

In regard to health, we are targeting areas of need in the acute sector, with 20 new acute care beds, 10 of which will be used for orthopaedic services. This builds on the 126 beds that were provided in the previous budget but continues our investment in ensuring that our acute care capacity keeps up with demand.

In addition to this, we will provide more support services for critical care services at the Canberra Hospital and Calvary. There is $5 million for a new intensive care capacity at TCH. And, importantly—and this one has not received a great deal of attention—there is a new intensive care, coronary care and high dependency unit at Calvary hospital. The government will be working in partnership with the Little Company of Mary to deliver this project through an investment of $31/2 million to purchase the equipment and fit-out the new unit and repayment of a capital charge for the project at Calvary hospital. This has been long fought for by doctors at Calvary and has been received warmly, I understand. This is a great boost for health services on the north side of Canberra, which is an area of growth. We need to make sure that we keep up with that demand and that Calvary hospital can have increased capacity to deal with more intensive and acutely unwell patients.

We are also providing an extra $10 million for improved access to elective surgery. This will allow the commissioning of a 10th operating theatre, along with the purchase of 300 more operations a year. We are expecting throughput to exceed 9,300 this budget year, another record high in throughput in elective surgery. This investment will continue. It is estimated that we will reach a target of around 9,600 during the next financial year. The 10th theatre will be a great addition; it means our operating theatres are working to full capacity, but it will meet some of the demand we are seeing for elective surgery and, hopefully, minimise some of the waits that are experienced on our waiting list.

There is more money going into chronic disease management and, importantly, into dental care. There is a new program to establish support for vulnerable children and their families in their first years of life. That is targeting the 0 to 2-year age group. We


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