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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3135 ..

improving patient flow and experience, whole-of-hospital patient flow, staff rostering and staff skills, education and team culture, and an escalation policy and practice for long-waiting patients.

DR PATERSON: Minister, I was wondering if you could further outline the additional investment in the emergency department to ensure timely care.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: As I have previously indicated, the emergency department investment that we made—the $23 million in this budget—is broken down, essentially, into three different elements—that is, the expansion of the emergency medical unit; the adequate medical and nursing staffing, including the introduction of a medical navigator position, which is absolutely critical in terms of that flow and helping to ensure that people are being admitted in a timely way into the right place; and the development of the acute medical unit, allowing patients with multiple medical issues to be admitted faster to the in-patient area, and to have their plans commenced by the multi-disciplinary team.

But what I have not really touched on—and I thank Dr Paterson for the opportunity to do so—is the investment that we are making in more emergency surgery capacity, as well. One of the things that we have seen—and this has been the case across the country—is increased demand for emergency surgery. We have funded an increase in emergency surgery capacity to operate a 13th theatre at Canberra Hospital on a fully-funded basis to increase access to emergency surgery and reduce the risk of postponing elective surgery procedures. That will provide 1,920 theatre hours. As well we are increasing the bed base, with eight additional funded beds and staff to support emergency and elective surgery throughout.

We know that demand for emergency surgery is high, and this is also having an impact across the system. I think this demonstrates that we have had a very thorough look at what is going on and what needs to change in terms of things that can be implemented without funding, and then where some extra funding support needs to come into place to support staff to make those changes—and that is what we have delivered in this budget.

Domestic and family violence—government initiatives

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Minister, how does the ACT 2021-22 budget invest in responses to domestic and family violence and sexual violence in the ACT?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Paterson for her question. The ACT government leads an evidence-based response to domestic and family violence which draws on expert advice as well as the lived experience of victim survivors. The 2021-22 budget is increasing funding to further build on this program of work. The ACT government will stage an increase to the safer families levy which will deliver a total of $8.8 million over the next four years. This will be done through a staged increase of $5 per year for four years, which will take the levy from $30 per household, currently, to $50 per household in 2024-25.

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