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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1745 ..

SouthCare Aeromedical Service

(Question No. 160)

Mr Stanhope asked the Minister for Health and Community Care, upon notice, on 4 May 1999:

In relation to the Southcare aeromedical treatment:

(1) What are the financial arrangements in place with NSW patients for the use of

The Canberra Hospital (TCH) medical facilities following Southcare

aeromedical assistance.

(2) What are the additional costs incurred by TCH consequent on the introduction

of Southcare aeromedical treatment including those for theatre, ICU bed use,

additional staff (ie wardsmen) and any other infrastructure costs involved.

(3) Have there been occasions when surgery has been cancelled at TCH as a result

of an emergency requiring theatre space or staff for Southcare patients and if

so, how often has this occurred.

Mr Moore: The answer to the Member's question is:

(1) Under the Health Care Agreement patients have access to services at TCH

regardless of their geographical origins. This has always been the case whether

they are brought in by road, Air Ambulance or helicopter. The cost of

treatment of NSW patients is paid by NSW under the cross border arrangements.

The ambulance renders their account to the place of pickup. In other words, if a patient is picked up in NSW (regardless of his or her State of residence) and brought to the ACT, the bill goes to NSW for the ambulance trip.

(2) A service level agreement is in place between the ACT Ambulance Service and

The Canberra Hospital to fund the provision of aeromedical retrieval medical

staff for the helicopter. Medical staffing involves Staff Specialists, who are

paid a 10% allowance, Visiting Medical Officers, who are paid at their current

contractual rate, and Registrars, who are paid as per their usual on call


Wardsman services are provided from within current allocations.

There has been little change in ICU average bed days in 1999, with the current average occupancy, being 10.23 beds per day.

Based on retrieval mission data for Southern Area Health Service Hospitals for the periods from 1 January 1998-30 September 1998 and 1 October 1998-31 March 1999 (the first six months of operation of SouthCare), it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of patients received at The Canberra Hospital via retrieval of 66 per year.

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