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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2337..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

Mr Deputy Speaker, you should wait because there is more. Sometimes significant improvements can be made by changing the way things are done rather than by spending more money. The type and nature of hospital services are changing dramatically. The integration of services across the continuum of care has blurred the barrier between hospital and community-based services.

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MS MacDONALD: In more and more areas people are benefiting from improved health outcomes by the tailoring of health care to meet their needs at each stage of their illness. The government is currently establishing care streams in cancer and in age care and rehabilitation. These streams will each operate under a single clinical director and will provide a consolidated and coordinated approach to patient care. The streams will link hospital-based services with those in the community to maximise health outcomes.

The establishment of an ACT stroke unit at the Canberra Hospital later this year is also another example of the ACT moving to match best practice in hospital care. The stroke unit will provide a rapid response service to enable intervention within the first hour after a stroke; the most important time of damage is to be minimised-and, Mr Deputy Speaker, I know that from having witnessed my own grandmother go through several strokes, one right in front of me-as well as developing rehabilitation plans for post-stroke recovery.

Unfortunately, demand for some hospital services continues to grow rapidly. The Labor government is funding this growth while also funding improvements in early intervention and prevention as a means of moderating this growth. One example of this is in renal dialysis. The demand for these services is growing well above the demand for other services. Over the last two years there has been an average growth of about 10 per cent per year. This growth will be difficult to sustain at this level. While ACT Labor has funded the growth in these services, it is also funding initiatives to assist in early intervention and prevention of renal disease. Better diabetes education, improved education for general practitioners and better identification of early warning signs will assist in reducing the impact of renal disease on hundreds of lives.

The increase in demand for interventional cardiology services has also been funded by ACT Labor. These services save lives. But the government is also investing in healthy living and eating campaigns as a way to minimise the level of demand for this care. It's not that we don't want to provide these services; it's just that it's much better if you don't need to provide them in the first place.

Our hospitals are major hives of activity, Mr Deputy Speaker. Over a single year our hospitals will provide more inpatient, outpatient and emergency services than there are people in the ACT. There are issues that need addressing, but ACT Labor has proven that we are the best team for tackling these issues and that we are tackling the issues.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have one minute.

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