Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2022) . . Page.. 1191 ..
Centenary Hospital for Women and Children—neonatal care
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please provide an update on the work of the neonatal intensive care unit and the special care Nursery at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to support premature and unwell babies at the beginning of their lives?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. And it is timely as tomorrow marks the start of nurses and midwifes week, tomorrow being the International Day of the Midwife, 5 May; and 12 May being the International Day of the Nurse. And of course, nurses and midwives are part of our fantastic multi-disciplinary teams at the Centenary Hospital for women and children.
The work of the neonatal intensive care unit and the special care nurseries in our health services is important to recognise, particularly as they have continued to care for the most unwell babies through the challenges of the past two years. They are not always mentioned when we talk about critical care, but I really want to acknowledge their crucial work and I thank Mr Pettersson for the opportunity.
The Centenary Hospital for women and children is a regional level 6 NICU, providing neonatal intensive care to the ACT and surrounding region. This includes a neonatal medical emergency team response and emergency retrieval. Each year, up to 800 patients and their families need the support of the NICU or the special care nursery at the Centenary Hospital.
The highly specialised team of nurses, doctors, allied health and support staff provide exceptional care to babies and their loved ones. Family-centred care is central to their work and they provide a range of programs to ensure caregivers can access supports in hospital when they get home. This includes the newborn and parent support service, which provides an early discharge program for families and babies who still require nursing care support and advice at home; the growth and development follow up program for NICU and special care nursery graduates, which provides early identification and referral to appropriate services to help them reach their full potential; NICU cam, a complementary livestream for families to see their baby when they are not in the unit, via phone, iPad or a computer; and further partnerships with non-government organisations who aim to support care givers. Overall, the teams provide an excellent service to some of Canberra's most vulnerable patients. I am sure we are all grateful for the work they do.
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how are you ensuring this vital service is growing with the Canberra region?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary and the government is, of course, committed to ensuring that vulnerable babies born here in the ACT from Canberra and the surrounding regions, have the right care, in the right place, at the right time. In the 2021-22 ACT budget, we invested over $15 million to continue expanding neonatal intensive care beds at the Centenary Hospital for women and children.