Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2022) . . Page.. 3683 ..
week, talking to the staff in the pilot acute medical unit, which is a unit that is designed to draw patients from the emergency department who will likely require an admission to hospital but where a decision has not been made as to which subspecialty is most appropriate or where they may not actually need to be admitted for a long period of time and they can be treated by a multidisciplinary team in that unit. That unit has been set up in a space that was available at this point in time, while some infrastructure works are taking place. That model is starting to bed down and work well.
Models around having advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners in the emergency—
Ms Lee: A point of order, Madam Speaker.
MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Lee?
Ms Lee: I have listened to the minister for over a minute now. The question clearly was: when will you do it, and how delayed has it been? She has not gone to that part of the question.
MADAM SPEAKER: Without paraphrasing the minister, I thought you were talking about reviews and changes of model being implemented?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Yes. If Ms Lee was listening, I was actually explaining how these changes are currently being implemented. If she wants to know, the implementation of advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners was trialled in the Canberra Hospital emergency department through the winter period, with a more independent model of care for them, based on the walk-in centre model. We are looking at how we implement that as a permanent change to the model of care. That is something that has not yet commenced, but it did happen during the winter period. We are now working out how we make that a permanent thing. There are a range of other measures that are currently underway.
MS CASTLEY: Minister, what do you say to Canberra families who are waiting longer than anyone else in the country for these critical services?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Obviously, it is always upsetting for people when they have to wait in the emergency department for longer than is ideal. Of course, I regularly receive correspondence, and respond to that correspondence, from people who express concern about that. But I also know that most Canberrans recognise that our hospitals have busy emergency departments. Canberra Hospital has one of the busiest emergency departments in the country. In comparison with its peer hospitals, these waits are on a par with some of those peer hospitals that are also very busy hospitals.
Most Canberrans understand that emergency departments need to triage patients, and that the most urgent patients will be seen the quickest; then, of course, there are the people who can be seen and treated very quickly and go home. For other people, there will be a wait. It is always unfortunate when people have an extended wait in the emergency department. That is why we are continuing to invest and continuing to look at model of care changes so that we can address those issues.