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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3856..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

The last report from the AIHW released in May shows that the average number of beds available to our public hospital system jumped from 679 beds in 2004-05 to 714 beds in 2005-06—a 5.2 per cent increase. This increase came at a time when the national figure for available beds dropped by one per cent. Nationally we dropped one per cent, and locally we have invested an additional 5.2 per cent in our bed capacity. This has been as a direct result of 114 beds being ripped out of the hospital system by the previous government.

There have been improvements in emergency department waiting times, with the waiting times improving for category 2, 3 and 4 patients. All category 1 patients continue to be seen on arrival. Ninety-three per cent of all people arriving by ambulance at our hospitals were off-loaded within 20 minutes of arrival, which is three per cent better than the target of 90 per cent.

In radiation oncology, 76 per cent of new radiation therapy patients were seen on time during 2006-07, a slight drop from the 77 per cent—a one per cent drop—reported in 2005-06, despite an 11 per cent increase in demand for services during the year. Most importantly, 94 per cent of all urgent radiation therapy patients received their care within the standard two-day time frame.

We have more than doubled mental health spending since coming to power. We have cleaned up the mess of the previous Liberal government. When we took office, we had the lowest per capita spending on mental health in the country—the shame of your legacy—the lowest level of mental health spending per capita in the country. We have invested—from $27.4 million in 2001-02 to $57.4 million in 2007-08. We funded two separate facilities: one for adults and one for youth. We are consulting with stakeholders on the new Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act. The mental health services plan will also guide future development.

The new sub and non-acute facility was opened at Calvary Public Hospital in February 2007. This facility expands the range of services provided by the aged care and rehab service. People with longer term rehab needs will now be able to receive that care in an environment that is more conducive to rehabilitation care. The new facility also provides services such as geriatric evaluation and, very importantly, older persons' mental health inpatient care in a purpose-built facility for the first time in the ACT. All up, the new service has up to 60 beds.

Over the next few months, we will also be implementing a new ED paediatric waiting area at a cost of $250,000 over four years. We will enlarge the Canberra Hospital emergency waiting room to provide a separate area for use by parents and children awaiting treatment. The current waiting room will be redesigned to incorporate a children's—(Time expired.)

Alexander Maconochie Centre

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Attorney-General and is related to the prison project. Minister, in answering a question during the annual reports hearings on the cost per bed of the prison, you said to my colleague Mr Seselja: "We do not cost this


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