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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6110 ..

discussion to have with our GP community, who will be concerned if it goes into community locations.

We are building our community health infrastructure with the capacity for more walk-in centres. Both the Gungahlin and Belconnen community health centres are set up for that and some changes that we are doing at the Tuggeranong community health centre will mean that it will be feasible to have walk-in centres in those community health locations.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, has the limitation on the type of cases that the nurse practitioner walk-in clinic can see had an impact on the presentations?

MS GALLAGHER: There is no doubt that there are very strict protocols—it is governed by very strict protocols. Anyone who has been to the walk-in centre will know that the nurses will operate off protocols on their computer and as they go through, it will determine whether or not they are in a position to treat that person and also the protocols that are put around about age will impact on the people that they can see.

But the data so far is that they are seeing what we expected they would see. Around two-thirds of all presentations can be adequately dealt with at the walk-in centre. Around 23 or 24 per cent are referred back to general practice and about seven per cent are referred, based on protocols agreed with emergency department physicians and general practice, to the emergency department.

The walk-in centre staff will say that they are referring emergency department patients to the emergency department in accordance with their protocols. For the largest number of those 6,500 people they have seen, they have been able to adequately treat them and, if it is an ongoing matter, refer them back to another health professional.

I think the protocols certainly restrict who they can see and how they can offer health advice. That will be part of the review as well—about whether there are opportunities to extend the protocols and extend or increase their scope of practice, which I know the nurses themselves are very keen to do.

When we opened the nurse walk-in centre, one of the first things that the staff down there were telling me was how many other things they would like to do. I said, “Let’s get though the first 12 months and have that review and we can take it from there.” But I think that for many of the people who presented to the walk-in centre, the chances are that they may not have accessed health care at all and in that sense, it is a success. (Time expired.)

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

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