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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 636 ..


being overworked. In September last year, members of a Canberra expectant mothers Facebook group put out this advice: “Don’t go into labour today, girls. Cross your legs if you have to. It is a madhouse at TCH.”

Another woman advised that antenatal, postnatal and delivery were all full and that there were three people labouring in the waiting area. This is all because there was not sufficient planning in the building of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. Last Friday the government announced with great fanfare that it will be spending $2.6 million to upgrade maternity facilities at Calvary hospital.

I do not begrudge Calvary hospital these much-needed upgrades. I had two of my children at Calvary hospital more than 20 years ago. The last time I visited, there had not been a visible upgrade since the last time I had a child at Calvary hospital. The improvements to maternity facilities at Calvary are welcome, but it is sobering that all these improvements will result in a net three additional beds.

Does the minister for health seriously believe that three additional beds will be sufficient to meet the demands of the growing populations of Gungahlin, Belconnen, the inner north and the new district of Ginninderry? I had hoped that the minister for health would have learned from the problems at the hospital for women and children, but she seems not to have.

The minister and the government constantly refer to the surgical procedures, interventional radiology and emergency centre at the Canberra Hospital, known as SPIRE. It is going to have to get a better name. This facility will not be operational until 2020 at the earliest and may not be delivered until 2023 or even later. There is no time frame for the opening of this. The government keep talking about what they are going to do, but they have no time frame. This is a problem.

As Mr Hanson has eloquently pointed out during his tenure as the shadow minister for health, we need new hospital buildings on the Woden campus now, and we should be in the process of building them. But, as we all know, the ACT government in 2012 abandoned plans for the rebuilding of building 3 in favour of plans for the light rail. If the government had been serious about planning for the future, we would have had these facilities now, or they would at least be well underway. Then we would not be waiting another five or six years at the very least.

The Canberra Liberals, as I have said, would have been well on the way to refurbishing building 3 and addressing the issues of what to do with the tower block. While we are waiting for the government to finally upgrade facilities at the Canberra Hospital, it is obvious that the Canberra Hospital and other parts of the health system are in a poor state of repair.

In late 2015 consultants from AECOM advised that there were four extreme risks and 196 high risks in our health system. The cost of repairing the faults identified by AECOM is reported to be $96 million, including $40 million to fix the extreme and high risks. As we all know, all of the extreme risks were at the Canberra Hospital and most of the high risks are there as well.


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