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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2899 ..


Ms Stephen-Smith: That is not what he said. You have completely misinterpreted and are misrepresenting what he said.

MRS JONES: He did, I can quote it. Absolutely not, into the low hundreds. They are ventilated beds but not ICU beds, as I am sure the minister knows. They are not the same thing. If needed, no doubt this facility will help but it will not be ICU and it cannot be.

Then, when we come to this budget, an additional 90 nurses and four additional ICU bed spaces to be physically constructed but not staffed. There is not much point of an ICU bed with no staffing. Or is the minister channelling Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister who thought the hospital with no patients was the highest performing one in Britain?

The 90 nurses might only materialise some time before the next election, but we need them now. I, along with many in the community, thought 400 additional health staff were coming. Ninety nurses by the next election. Is that it?

Ms Stephen-Smith: No. Read the papers, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Well, here is your opportunity. In estimates earlier this year, the health minister explained that Health is funded from a defined envelope. Limiting the funding growth to around six per cent per year was decided in 2006 by the Stanhope government in this mysterious functional review. The Canberra Liberals have obtained a copy of the report and it shows that critical to ensuring appropriate care within the six per cent funding envelope was the implementation of much better practices in our health system. Better practices means systems that work for staff and buildings that are functional as well.

The government’s failure to meet its numerous election commitments to rebuild the Canberra Hospital shows that it just cannot deliver a properly, appropriately and fully functioning healthcare system, especially at these times. We were promised by Ms Gallagher, and then by Mr Corbell, and then by Ms Fitzharris a start to the rebuild of the Canberra Hospital’s clinical spaces. We have seen that promise at the 2012 election, the 2016 election and last year’s election, yet not a sod has been turned on clinical facilities at the new Woden site and the building is not yet underway.

The lifts at the Canberra Hospital are too small for standard hospital beds. They are in the public domain and lack privacy for people in the middle of surgeries. I know because I was one of them. The tower block is still at the end of life and beyond, and under Minister Fitzharris the switchboard spontaneously combusted.

This minister seems to be keeping this ancient building together with sticky tape. We have received nice drawings of the new building to rehome ICU, ED, surgery and several wards. We even saw Minister Steel this week having the hide to talk up on the news the garden promised next to the ICU, but alas still no new building. This is despite Minister Gentleman throwing away the chance for changes to the building via the usual planning process all in the name of getting the Canberra Hospital clinical rebuild started, yet still no clinical rebuild has started.


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