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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3003 ..

MS ORR: Minister, what plans does the government have to deliver better care across our hospital system?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The ACT government has committed to employing 400 new clinical staff over this term of government, including doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, to provide more healthcare services as our city grows. The impact of new initiatives across the health portfolio shows considerable progress towards our goal. By the end of 2021-22, we will have invested in an additional 257 health professional full-time equivalent staff, nearly 65 per cent of our commitment delivered in one budget. This includes more than 90 nurses across Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital through the nursing and midwifery ratios alone, and more medical, nursing and allied health staff in our emergency departments, intensive care, acute medical services, surgical areas, endoscopy, neonatal intensive care and, of course, in the community.

This government will maintain our focus on delivering our vital health infrastructure projects, ensuring that the health system has the space it needs to provide quality treatment and care into the future. This includes continuing planning and design work for the new north-side hospital and significant investments in upgrades at Calvary Public Hospital to ensure continued provision of safe and effective services as our city grows.

Along with planning for a new modern north-side hospital, a $12 million commitment, we are committed to the delivery of the Canberra Hospital master plan and will commence early work for a new multistorey car park at the Canberra Hospital to continue providing enhanced facilities at the hospital campus.

We are also investing in a range of areas to deliver better care through implementing a new model of patient navigation to better coordinate care across the health system for people with chronic and complex conditions, including a new paediatric liaison and navigation service; co-designing a gender-focused peer-led health service with non-government organisations and LGBTIQ+ stakeholders; and developing and implementing a plan to respond to the LGBTIQ+ health scoping study.

DR PATERSON: Minister, how will implementing nurse ratios contribute to improving outcomes and the hospital system?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Dr Paterson for the question. The ACT government has committed to implementing nursing and midwifery to patient ratios because we know that ratios save lives and improve care. We want to ensure that our staff are able to work in the safest environment possible to provide the best care possible.

Ratios are a process of organising care of patients to a mandated number of nurses and midwives every shift. The ACT government has developed, in partnership with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian public sector nursing and midwifery framework. The framework provides a blueprint for determining the right number of nursing and midwifery staff and skill mix to care for patients within our public hospitals. This will ensure a safer environment for everyone, patients and staff.

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