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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2028 ..


Health—walk-in centres

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on 14 September 2020, your party put out a media release which said:

A re-elected ACT Labor Government will build on our successful nurse-led Walk-in Centres and Community Health Centres with five new local walk-in health centres offering accessible public health care across Canberra’s suburbs.

On the same day the Stroke Foundation tweeted:

We welcome ACT Labor promise of five new nurse-led walk in centres. A stroke occurs every 9 minutes in Australia and the majority can be prevented; we’d like to see F.A.S.T. (signs of stroke) community education as part of the preventive health service. @RachelSS_MLA @ACTHealth

Minister, you both liked and retweeted this post. However, in this chamber last sitting week you stated, "We were very clear throughout the election period that these were not going to be nurse-led walk-in centres." Minister, why did you like and retweet this incorrect statement about your commitment?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. I have to admit that when I reread the tweet, I did realise that they had not included the word “health” in their “walk-in health centres”. I did consider un-retweeting it, but I thought that, given that I had already retweeted it, given that they were welcoming ACT Labor’s commitment to five new walk-in health centres across Canberra—in South Tuggeranong, in the Inner South, in West Belconnen, in North Gungahlin and in Molonglo—I wanted as many people as possible to know about the ACT government’s plan to deliver health care—both appointment based and immediate health care—to people closer to home right across the ACT.

MRS JONES: I have a supplementary question. Minister, given that many news outlets published the claim that there would be five new nurse-led walk-in centres, can you please table correspondence that your party or you had with those outlets asking that they correct the record.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. I do not believe that we actually wrote formally to any of those outlets asking them to correct the record but I can say that on multiple occasions, in multiple press conferences, in my own social media, and in ACT Labor materials and social media, we were very clear that the model for the new walk-in health centres would not be the same as the existing nurse-led walk-in centres and that neither would it be the same as our existing community health centres but that these centres would offer a mix of appointment based and immediate healthcare services that would be co-designed with the communities in which they are going to be based—in South Tuggeranong, in the Inner South, in West Belconnen, in North Gungahlin and in Molonglo—and that we would work with each of those local communities to ensure that we were meeting the health needs of those communities, which are clearly going to be quite diverse.


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