Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 4199..
can have an MRI performed on their brain while the operation is still ongoing. It means that surgeons do not have to close the wound and then do an MRI several days later and then make a decision about whether further surgery is warranted or whether radiotherapy or chemotherapy is another treatment option. This means that surgeons are able to get the latest images on the screen while they are operating and make those decisions in real time during the operation.
The first patient received their procedure on 7 September. By last Friday, there had been five procedures performed in the new facilities. I spoke to a number of staff—both medical and nursing staff—at the hospital last Friday. They were very excited about the new technology. I think in terms of being able to attract staff to the ACT, this new service will pull professionals in. I must say that there has been a real boost to the training that has been provided to this unit. I think that 61 staff have already undergone specialised training. It is a very complex work environment to work in.
It is very exciting. There have been five operations performed already. The feedback from the doctors is excellent; it has changed their own decision making during just that small number of operations that have been performed so far and it will have real impact for the lives of the people who have undergone that surgery. That is all in the first week of operation.
This is something that the Assembly should be very proud of. I know that staff at the hospital are very proud of it. I think that again it will reinforce to the rest of Australia that Canberra Hospital and the ACT health system are a premier health system across Australia.
MS PORTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, how does the completion of this neuro suite fit in with other developments on the Canberra Hospital site?
MS GALLAGHER: The actual project management of a project like this was very complex. The project team, GE Shaw, had to build a neurosurgery operating theatre in a gap that existed between the functioning hospital. Underneath the neuro suite, an additional ward has been built which will become the new surgical assessment and planning unit. But the neurosurgery suite sits on top of that. It was a void in the building. So, in a sense, this project was developed inside the hospital, the structure was built and then a five-tonne magnet was dropped into the new facility through the existing building. It was, as someone who went out and witnessed it at different stages of development, the most complex project that I think you could imagine being done while a hospital is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
GE Shaw have done a fantastic job—also, too, the ACT Health redevelopment team and ThinkHealth, who are helping us with our redevelopment. Certainly, the government extends congratulations to them on the successful completion of this project—as I said, on budget and on time. The extra training that has gone in for staff will, again, reinforce the quality of service that we are able to provide at the Canberra