Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2022) . . Page.. 2649 ..
there were many conditions being treated at our emergency departments, for one-year-old patients, that two-year-olds were being treated for at our walk-in centres. The research also showed that the treatment for these emergency department presentations was in line with how they would be managed for a two-year-old under the walk-in centre treatment protocols. Feedback from the community showed that 98 per cent of people using walk-in centres would prefer that they expand their service to this younger population. The consultation with walk-in centre users also showed that if walk-in centres had not been available, 43 per cent of people would have presented to an emergency department.
While walk-in centres have nurses with lots of experience in paediatric care, additional training has been provided to the advanced practice nurses to ensure that the provision of high quality clinical care to paediatric patients continues. The walk-in centre teams are working to recruit additional highly skilled advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners, which will also allow the reopening of the inner north walk-in centre as soon as these staff are on board and trained up—something I know people in our electorate are very keen to see. A recent walk-in centre nurse practitioner recruitment process resulted in an additional two nurse practitioners for our walk-in centres, and these nurses will commence with the services shortly.
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please update the Assembly on other changes and innovations at our walk-in centres to support the Canberra community to access free public health care?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary. The ACT’s walk-in centres provide an incredibly important service to the ACT and surrounding region. From January to March this year there were 18,700 presentations to a walk-in centre, including our dedicated, nation-leading COVID-19 clinic at the Garran Surge Centre. To continue to expand access to our walk-in centres, the ACT government invested more than $3 million, delivering more care closer to home by increasing the number of nurse practitioners across our walk-in centres in the most recent budget. This increased funding will ensure that a nurse practitioner is available at every walk-in centre on each shift.
The ACT government is also delivering on its commitment to establish the Weston Creek community medical imaging facility, co-located with our walk-in centre at Weston Creek, to provide better access to public imaging services. Construction of the new facility has commenced and it will be operational in early 2023. This means that our teams will be able to send patients for commonly required diagnostic imaging in the community, rather than redirecting them to our busy public hospital imaging departments.
The new digital health record is also being implemented across our walk-in centres and will go live on 12 November. This transformational project will mean our nurse-led teams will have faster access to information, meaning more time to focus on the person requiring care, rather than searching for key health information stored in different places.
Through the regular review of treatment protocols, the teams at the walk-in centres