Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 68 ..
level of detail that was provided in the plans. Hopefully, we will be able to work through these issues. I think that the concerns that have been raised by the Friends of the Birth Centre will be able to be dealt with within the final sketch plans when they are completed by May 2010. I have asked Health to work very closely with the Friends of the Birth Centre in finalising that. But, yes, the final location of the birth centre, if I heard your question correctly, is inside the women’s and children’s hospital.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, given the skeleton plans for the birthing centre have been signed off, what advice have the department and architects taken on from midwives and the Friends of the Birth Centre and what suggestions have been discounted?
MS GALLAGHER: I think what has been signed off are some preliminary sketch plans, but the final sketch plans have not been signed off. They are due for completion in May. From my point of view, we have been talking with the Friends of the Birth Centre for a long period of time—since the announcement of the women’s and children’s hospital was made—around trying to accommodate everything that they were after within the confines of the building. It has been fraught. This started with the Friends of the Birth Centre not wanting to be within areas where more traditional or other delivery areas were. From all the discussions I have had with the architects and Health—and if we put aside the fact that the Friends of the Birth Centre did not want to be where they are going to be—we are able to accommodate all of their design desires. That is my understanding. We will continue to work. I will check whether the preliminary sketch plans have been signed off. They may have been signed off. They are due for signing off in February. The final detailed design is due to be completed in May. I will continue to work with the Friends of the Birth Centre to make sure that they are as happy as they can be.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?
MS HUNTER: Minister, did the architects have expertise in designing specialty wards, in particular birthing centres? If not, were the architects required by the government to subcontract out the design to people with the appropriate expertise?
MS GALLAGHER: Bligh Voller Nield are the architects for the women’s and children’s hospital. I will have to check whether they have subcontracted any work; I am just not sure. They are the lead architect and my understanding is that they have a very long history of designing healthcare facilities. Again, I will check about whether they have had experience in designing a women’s and children’s hospital, but they were selected after a fairly intensive procurement process where I guess experience was one of the criteria being examined. I will come back to the Assembly with that further information.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary question?
MR HANSON: A supplementary. Minister, have these design changes caused any delay in the women’s and children’s hospital, and when do you expect the hospital, and the birth centre in particular, to be operational?