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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3612 ..

In the budget we have funded the Gungahlin health centre, as that population is now moving to the point where it can sustain its own community health facility. We have announced that this land will be right next to the very popular child and family centre—another initiative of this government. It is a fairly large block of land which has been set aside so that we can provide a whole range of services out there. People would know that in our health centres we can provide dental care, allied health care, women’s health care and children’s health care. In Gungahlin, we have indicated in our planning work that we would like to see this as the second place in which we establish our walk-in centres, which are nurse-led centres and are able to operate out of hours and free of charge.

This will require a large block of land. That is what has been provided. We expect now, with the money appropriated and the decision taken on the land, that the Gungahlin health centre will be able to be completed by the end of 2010. This will be a significant service to the people of Belconnen. Of course, it is on top of our commitments around a pool, the schools out there and extending the police station. There is a whole range of services to meet the growing needs of that community. But it is being put at risk by the Liberal Party’s ideas around supplementing existing GP clinics out there. I think the Gungahlin community have already raised concerns around whether the Liberals’ announcement, if they became the government of the day, would put at risk this very valuable community asset; that is, will the people of Gungahlin actually get this health centre on time and for the full $18 million that we have allocated, and with the full range of services—children’s health, dental, allied health and community nursing. They are all services that we provide in the community to our community through our existing community health infrastructure.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter with a supplementary question.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what other innovative models of health care is the ACT government implementing?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Of course, we have outlined over the past couple of months our plan for the future—our 10-year commitment to rebuild the ACT’s public health system. It goes to innovative models of care that will be able to be implemented through the new infrastructure program. It is around the women’s and children’s hospital. It is around our suite of mental health facilities. It is around our neurosurgery suite at the Canberra Hospital. For the first time people will be able to have brain surgery and have an MRI done in the same operating theatre. It is the first time that service will be available to the people of the ACT.

It is about looking at our emerging e-health technologies. It is about diversifying our workforce. It is about different roles for the health workforce. It is not just about doctors and nurses. It cannot just be about doctors and nurses any more. There simply is not the staff to provide the health care that we are going to need in the future through two roles. There has to be assistance in nursing. There have to be nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses and allied health assistants. There has to be a greater role and scope of practice for some of those existing health workers that we already have.

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