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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 18 August 2011) . . Page.. 3515 ..

MS PORTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, what other areas will be focused on for continued monitoring and evaluation to ensure the centre runs as best it can for the community?

MS GALLAGHER: I think there are a number of areas where we going to have to work collegiately with health stakeholders, including the AMA, the Division of General Practice, the Health Care Consumers Association, the ANF and the nurse professional bodies to talk about the future of the public walk-in centre. I think this report clearly shows that it is an established service now. It is providing safe, high quality care, but there are opportunities for us to refine the model.

I think one of the challenges will be to not have it at the hospital site. I think that will come with significant opposition from some of the professional groups who will not want to see it moved off the hospital grounds into community-based settings. I note that Mr Seselja, I think acting as the health spokesperson for the Liberals, said that putting it at the hospital was simply poor planning by ACT Labor. If Mr Seselja actually had an understanding of those discussions, he would know that it was not our preference. We actually would have preferred that it went to a community health centre and started off there, but in response to discussions—

Mr Coe: You’re still responsible, though.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, again, it was listening and responding to the criticism that at that time was coming from the AMA and the Division of General Practice, which refused to give the model support unless it was based at the hospital. I never thought that we would be able to get a model like this up—a nurse-led centre—if we had the opposition from the most senior professional medical bodies in this territory. And they would not support it if it was not at the hospital. We had to demonstrate to them that the nurses could provide safe, high quality care, and they wanted that to be done under the clinical leadership of the Canberra Hospital.

What we have done through the evaluation—again, the independent evaluation was at the request of the professional groups—was to provide them with enough data to convince them that it is a safe model. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, is there any evidence to suggest that expanding the scope of practice of the nurse practitioners would lead to less referrals to the emergency department?

MS GALLAGHER: Potentially; I think the view was yes, and you would broaden the scope of services offered at the walk-in centre. So that in itself would reduce referrals out. I think the other issue that has been raised with me around the scope of practice is that the model we are running under the current protocol-driven scope is

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