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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1868..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

gloom from those opposite, and they are always about bypass. They cannot see past the catchy headlines like "Horror week"and "May mayhem"to the good work that is being done behind the scenes to improve services.

Yes, the Canberra Hospital emergency department goes on load share, or bypass, from time to time and I do not dispute this. However, it was this government that established the formal emergency department load share mechanisms to ensure that patient safety is a priority during peak times-and it is only in peak times. The mechanism in place for load share is not a signal of defeat, it is the most responsible clinical outcome during periods of above average demand for services.

Looking at positive outcomes, the rate of unplanned hospital re-admissions-that is, the proportion of people who are re-admitted to hospital within 28 days of their separation due to complications of their condition-is below target for 2005-06 at 1.7 per cent. The hospital-acquired infection rate is below target for the same period at 0.2 per cent.

One of the most exciting projects established to address the issue of access to health services is the access improvement program, AIP, which was established in June 2005 to facilitate the redesign of health care delivery processes and work practices. The primary role of the access improvement program is to improve acute care access to services.

Unlike many similar projects, the access improvement program focuses on the patient's journey or experience through the health care system, while providing a structured change management framework and external assistance. Also, unlike many similar projects, the program recognises that the best people to provide the redesign solutions are the front-line staff currently working the system and the patients who have experience using the system. The program is a cross-territory initiative involving both the Canberra and Calvary hospitals, as well as the aged care and rehabilitation system and also community health services and mental health services.

Some of the solutions already identified include a redesign of triage to ensure safety and timely assessment of all patients presenting to emergency departments; the rapid streaming of emergency patients to care zones consisting of multidisciplinary teams aligned to patient needs; reinforced leadership roles, with a focus on managing the end-to-end patient journey through the emergency department; and an expedited assessment of the older patient presenting to the emergency department to identify those at risk of rapid deterioration. These patients will then be quickly streamed to an area designed for their specific needs.

The ACT has recorded some achievements, highlighted in the National mental health report 2005 released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, AIHW, in the provision of mental health services to the community. The ACT recorded the highest per capita spending on community mental health services at $76 against the Australian average of $51. The ACT came a very close second to Victoria with the highest percentage of funding for total mental health services being spent in the community services sector, non-government, at 11.4 per cent against the national average of 6.2 per cent.

The ACT also recorded the highest level of services externally assessed, with level 1 implementation of the national standards for mental health services and the highest level


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