Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1791..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
We went into that agreement knowing that it had costs. In the negotiations, we did discuss possible implementation issues around a number of those items in the Greens-ALP parliamentary agreement, but my dealings with the Greens, as opposed to those with the opposition, have involved willingness to cooperate, collaborate, look at different ways of doing things and to implement the agreement in the shared interest of pursuing the goals of that agreement.
I am a little bit cynical about your recent and renewed interest in the parliamentary agreement. I think it is probably less about implementing and actually achieving the worthwhile elements of that agreement and more about political point scoring. I can assure the opposition, though—I know they are all busting and waiting for budget day in order to come out with their fists flying about how economically irresponsible we all are—that we and the Greens, in our discussions around this upcoming budget, are very mindful of the pressure that exists on our budget and the fact that we are looking at ways to contain costs in any new initiatives that are funded in the budget. That is the sensible thing to do; it is the responsible thing to do; it is the right thing to do.
Hospitals—Nurse-led walk-in centres
MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the ACT government recently undertook community consultation on proposed nurse-led walk-in centres. Can you please provide an update to the Assembly on the outcomes of this consultation round and how this new concept of primary health care will assist the people of the ACT?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Burch for the question. The government has been undertaking a very broad range of community discussion around the proposed nurse-led walk-in centres. These are proposed new models of care, new ways of doing things that we have not done in the ACT before, exciting ways of doing things to fit a particular area within the health service, particularly for those people that find it difficult to access a GP, people who are finding it difficult to access some level of health care out of hours and particularly for those low level interventions that are irritating but could be dealt with by a nurse practitioner.
We have had a number of responses to our discussion paper; I think we had 26 responses in total. We ran a number of public meetings, which were not that well attended outside of your—
Mr Hanson: I was there. I went to the one in Woden.
MS GALLAGHER: Then you can attest to the fact that it was not well attended, outside of the people we often see at those discussion forums. But, overwhelmingly, the feedback around nurse-led walk-in clinics has been one of support, although there has been some cautious and conditional support from some organisations involved. I think that is not unusual when you are looking at new ways of doing things and broadening the scope of some health workers into new areas. But the discussion paper came out with broad support for nurse-led walk-in clinics that are co-located within a hospital or established as a shopfront service located close to major transport hubs,