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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 14 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4286..


Questions without notice

Health—breast screening

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Can the minister update the Assembly on the MOU with the New South Wales government for New South Wales women who work in the ACT to access breast screening services.

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for his ongoing interest in the ACT health system. On 15 November, the New South Wales Minister for Health and I—

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: Sorry, Mr Smyth; it is my turn now. We announced that our jurisdictions had signed an MOU which will see that New South Wales women who work in the ACT will once again be able to access breast screening services in the ACT.

New South Wales women had previously been able to access this service; however, in 2012 this arrangement came to an end and New South Wales women were redirected to services offered by BreastScreen NSW. We did get a number of representations from women who live in the neighbouring smaller communities abutting our border who work in the ACT. Based on those representations, I asked ACT Health to begin discussions with NSW Health to see whether or not a suitable arrangement could be put in place to allow these women to be screened in the ACT as these women indicated that they were finding it difficult to attend the mobile screening services that were offered in their own local communities or indeed attend the Queanbeyan service during business hours.

Over the last couple of months, BreastScreen ACT and the Cancer Institute of New South Wales have been working together to look at a solution to allow screening of women who reside on the ACT-NSW border. We have recently finalised an MOU. This allows women working in the ACT but living in New South Wales to book appointments with BreastScreen ACT. One thousand appointments have been allocated to New South Wales women, which equates to around 20 screening appointments a week.

It is great to see the New South Wales and ACT governments continue to look at ways to provide the health services to a regional community where the costs are shared fairly between both jurisdictions. This service, of course, is free to women, but it does come at a cost. The New South Wales government will cover the cost of these appointments.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how is BreastScreen ACT also encouraging ACT women to have their breasts screened?

MS GALLAGHER: BreastScreen ACT use a number of different strategies to encourage women on to the program. They develop an annual recruitment plan, which


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