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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . .

Page.. 286..

discussion paper. It is a fantastic opportunity for Canberrans to tell us how they want to live in the future, not for just a particular couple of authors.

Health—adult mental health unit

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. I refer to your answers to questions asked in the 2016-17 annual reports hearings. You advised the committee that the average bed occupancy rate at the adult mental health unit was 105 per cent and that capacity was at, near or above 100 per cent for most of the year. Minister, why was the average bed occupancy rate at the mental health unit 105 per cent last year?

MR RATTENBURY: The actual building was built with 40 beds. At this point in time 37 have been funded but at times there is additional demand to that. Those additional beds have been used even though they have not been funded.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what impact has the high bed occupancy rate for the adult mental health unit had on clinical care for patients and on staff satisfaction?

MR RATTENBURY: Clearly having that level of demand, as in any business when demand is higher, places some strain on people. But I reflect on the fact that our staff are very dedicated and, despite reports in today's paper, I can assure the Assembly that the adult mental health unit is currently fully staffed, adequately staffed. As at 14 February there were 11 full-time equivalent medical staff overseeing patients admitted to the unit. This was an increase from 8½ in July 2017. This speaks to the fact that ACT Health has been working to actively recruit and fill positions at the adult mental health unit to ensure the right level of staff for the number of patients we have and to ensure that staff have suitable clinical qualifications to meet the needs of the clients who find themselves at the adult mental health unit.

MR HANSON: Minister, has the average bed occupancy rate for the adult mental health unit been over 100 per cent during 2017-18? What, if anything, are you doing to bring the bed occupancy rate down?

MR RATTENBURY: Yes, it has, as Mrs Dunne noted in her question—which Mr Hanson evidently did not listen to—it has been, and that was—

Mrs Dunne: No, no; 17-18, not 16-17.

Mr Hanson: Thank you, Mrs Dunne.

MR RATTENBURY: I will take that—

Mr Hanson: I will accept an apology if the minister was misleading.

MR RATTENBURY: I misheard the dates. I will—

Mr Hanson: An apology will be accepted.

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