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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) . . Page.. 3967 ..

any concerns they might have. What we are looking at encouraging is a way whereby people are able to easily make feedback and complaints, or compliments, whilst they are patients in the hospital. There is more work being done on that.

Canberra Hospital—patient care

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on 21 November 2014 you announced a range of initiatives to further improve the patient experience at Canberra Hospital. Can you update the Legislative Assembly on these initiatives?

MS GALLAGHER: As I said to Mr Hanson, I will update the Assembly shortly on a number of the initiatives that have been developed over the past 12 months and implemented at Canberra Hospital or, if not implemented, about to be implemented. These are areas that the hospital and the health system have been working on in direct response to feedback that we have been getting from patients and from talking to staff about areas where they think our service can be improved.

We have also been talking with the ANMF in particular, because, when some of the issues around personal care are raised, it raises issues for their members. Some of the issues have been industrial in nature, but I am very pleased to say we have worked through them.

One of the most significant changes—and this was at ward 7A, which is, I think, where some of the complaint that Mr Hanson raised came from but also relates to the ward where I just repeated one of the compliments that we have had recently—is the introduction of team nursing, which involves nurses working as a team to provide care for all patients on the ward. It replaces the model where individual nurses were allocated individual patients to care for; it may have been four patients on the ward. If you need two nurses to help with the care needs of one patient, that is hard when you have all got four patients you need to look after. Team nursing has been introduced there. I have the opportunity to speak with some nurses about how they feel about that. The feedback to date is very positive, both from staff and from patients.

Assistants in nursing is also an initiative I have been looking at bringing in for a while. We have had a trial on one ward at Canberra Hospital. That trial has satisfied some of the concerns of the ANMF to allow that to be used across the hospital and will be used to supplement the delivery of patient care. Assistants in nursing are not enrolled nurses or registered nurses. Their role is restricted really to those areas where we have been getting feedback about in terms of personal care—showering, changing, moving from chair to bed, and assisting with eating.

Visiting hours is also an issue which has come up. It is not a standard format across the hospital, or enforced across the hospital, where there is a morning and afternoon session, traditionally. From 1 December visiting hours will be standardised from 6 am to 9 pm across the hospital. Where it is clinically appropriate, there are some places where that might not be able to be done because of the clinical care needs of the patients. That, again, will encourage family and friends and visitors to be with their loved ones throughout the day and not feel like they are being asked to leave the hospital.

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