Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 6 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1727..
MS GALLAGHER: There are very strict protocols between the emergency department and referral to the walk-in centre. Then there are strict protocols for the walk-in centre as well, about their scope of practice and the services they can provide. So it is well within the walk-in centre's operational responsibilities to refer people to the most appropriate treating professional. The last data I saw was that about 20 per cent of people presenting to the walk-in centre were being referred to general practice as the most appropriate place for that health care. These protocols have been agreed to and consulted on extensively with the profession.
Mr Hanson: The AMA love it, don't they?
MS GALLAGHER: The AMA were part of it. The division of general practice or Medicare Local were others who have been part of the negotiations. I would say, as Mr Hanson's snide interjections continue through the day, that the walk-in centre is incredibly popular.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.
MRS JONES: Minister, can you present the information about the protocols that are strictly written and is it okay for parents, for example, seeking medical attention for their sick children to go through a round-robin medical experience?
MS GALLAGHER: I would be more than happy to look at any individual matter. I have not had a case brought to my attention where a parent of children has been referred to the walk in centre and then off to general practice. I imagine it will have occurred, but I have not had a complaint.
Mr Hanson: You said 20 per cent are.
MS GALLAGHER: No, I did not say that. It is very hard not to respond to your interjections.
MADAM SPEAKER: You will have to resist the temptation, Chief Minister.
MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I will resist the temptation but he should also be brought to order for continuous interjecting.
I am not aware of a complaint that has been brought to my attention about a round-robin referral process occurring. Even if people are referred from the emergency department to the walk in centre, "Look, the walk in centre can treat you"—and they cannot treat children under the age of two; so it would be only affecting children who are two and above who can even be referred to the walk in centre—if they are concerned, they can be seen and will be seen at the emergency department.
Anyone who presents to the emergency department can be seen, regardless of what category they are. If they are less urgent and they can be more appropriately treated through CALMS or the walk in centre—and CALMS operates from the Canberra Hospital site as well and is another place for people to be referred to—they will be seen but there may be a wait.