Page 3800 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question, although I think that that is quite an upsetting question. I reject the premise of the question in terms of Housing ACT staff, who are working very hard to provide a great level of service. This is a work team that has been doing significant work in terms of improving their work and business processes to make sure that their level of service is even more responsive.

I think that it is quite distressing to hear members of this chamber talk about public servants who are working hard, and who have worked hard in very difficult circumstances, particularly over the last two years—

Mr Hanson: I have a point of order with respect to relevance. That was an outrageous assertion from the minister. It is about the resources allocated to staff. To try to characterise that is out of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. Members!

You have another minute to go to the question, Ms Vassarotti, if you wish.

MS VASSAROTTI: I think I have probably answered.

Health—birth centres

MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the birth centre just had its 30th birthday a couple of weeks ago. I was so privileged to attend and it was great to see that you were there too. One of the things we heard was that midwife-led continuity of maternity care births at the birth centre are cheaper than hospital births, especially when comparing like for like, when we are comparing low risk vaginal birth with low risk vaginal birth in both centres. Can you tell me the average cost to government for a planned birth centre birth compared to a public birth in the delivery suites at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children or Calvary Public Hospital Bruce?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Clay for the question. I cannot provide exactly that information. It is important to recognise that the birth centre is not in itself a model of care but it is a place of birth. So women booked under any model of care can birth in the birth centre if they meet the eligibility criteria. The birth centre is a fantastic setting and it was great to be there at the 30th anniversary of the birth centre. Of course it is not in the same place that it was before. Thirty years ago when the birth centre was opened in 1992 by then Minister for Health, Wayne Berry, it was an important ACT Labor achievement. It was ACT Labor that defended its place in the birthing options for ACT women against the criticism then. But now it is very well established.

What I can say in relation to costs is that clearly minor complexity births are cheaper than intermediate complexity births in terms of being around just over $4,400 for a minor complexity birth to $6,700 for an intermediate complexity birth. It is not possible with the data we have at this point in time to break that down between birth centre and birth suite because in fact we may be seeing the same level of complexity

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