Page 2962 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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(b) the Government said the paediatric emergency wing would provide a faster service for children and their families and enhance their experience. “ACT Labor wants to ensure sick children are treated and discharged, or admitted to a hospital ward, as quickly as possible.”; and

(c) Labor went to the 2012 election promising a dedicated $5.8 million service for children attending the Emergency Department. Federal Labor had promised up to $5 million with ACT Labor providing $879,000 over four years for a Paediatric Clinical Nurse Consultant;

(2) further notes:

(a) in April this year the Government decided its paediatric emergency wing would no longer operate at full capacity and, between April and August, the paediatric emergency department only operated 50 percent of the time; and

(b) since August the paediatric emergency stream has been mothballed and not functioning about 20 percent of the time meaning children and families must go to the adult emergency department which is inappropriate for them; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) immediately reopen and fully staff and operate the paediatric emergency wing at Canberra Hospital; and

(b) commit to keep the paediatric emergency wing permanently open and operational to provide the best health care to sick children.

Labor went to the 2012 election with a promise to establish a dedicated service for sick kids attending the Canberra Hospital’s emergency department. In ACT Labor’s policy statement then leader Katy Gallagher said that about one in four emergency presentations involved children. At the time, Ms Gallagher said:

ACT Labor wants to deliver a faster service for children and their families presenting to the Canberra Hospital emergency department, and enhance their experience.

That was a laudable goal to improve paediatric health care in Canberra. It is an issue that the Canberra Liberals have been campaigning on because this government has failed to provide quality health care for sick, vulnerable children and their anxious families and carers. Sadly, the government have failed to deliver. as they have run down our health system, meaning that Canberrans are not getting the health care they need and deserve.

The then Chief Minister, Ms Katy Gallagher, announced that, if re-elected, the Labor government would provide $5.8 million to establish a dedicated service for children in the Canberra Hospital emergency department—a paediatric stream. The federal Labor government had agreed to provide up to $5 million in capital funding, while ACT Labor would allocate $879,000 over four years to add a paediatric clinical nurse consultant. It is important to note that there was no footnote at the bottom of Labor’s election commitment that the new paediatric stream may or may not operate depending on circumstances—that it may be open or may not be open, based on a decision by the health executive or by the health minister.

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