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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1722 ..

Mr Smyth: You claimed credit for it.

MR STANHOPE: I opened the facility, but there was a change of government. During the term of the previous government, Mr Moore spent the money. The government spent the recurrent funds. It is very difficult to run a convalescence facility without staff. I know the previous government tried to run Hennessy House without staff and it did not work.

You launched it, and you tried to run it. It was a pity there were no patients there. You tried to run a psychiatric facility without staff. I would have expected you to learn from that. You cannot run a convalescence facility without money to provide for staff.

You spent the money at Morling Lodge on the provision of 11 transition beds. The 11 transition beds at Morling Lodge are full, and it is of concern that the 11 transition beds at Morling Lodge are occupied by nursing-home-type patients. This is a major concern. Mr Humphries knows this and I have heard him speak on it: this is classic cost shifting. It is a real concern that, having funded 11 transition beds, not nursing home beds, at Morling Lodge, we now have nursing-home-type patients in those beds. We have 28 nursing-home-type patients in the Canberra Hospital.

Mr Smyth has suggested in today's Canberra Times that we develop a convalescence facility and move the nursing-home-type patients in the Canberra Hospital into the convalescence facility. Let me tell you something, Mr Smyth, you do not convalesce from growing old. Convalesce means to get better. We do not want to put nursing-home-type patients in a convalescence facility, in a step-down facility. That is not what you have a convalescence facility for.

A convalescence or step-down facility is to ease the transition from hospital to home for acute care patients who need some time to recover, so they can care for themselves. Mr Smyth, you should understand this. You do not develop a convalescence facility and put your nursing-home-type patients there, and transfer your bed block from your acute beds to your convalescence beds, because, if you do, you have achieved absolutely nothing. We are finding this at Morling Lodge. We have moved our nursing-home-type patients from acute beds at the hospital to transition beds at Morling Lodge, and actually all we have done is picked up the Commonwealth's obligation.

It is classic cost shifting. We are now paying for nursing-home-type patients at Morling Lodge who are the Commonwealth's responsibility. That is what you want us to do with the convalescence facility. You need to understand these simple aspects of health care, Mr Smyth. Get a grip on your shadow portfolio. In the first instance, the recurrent money has gone and we are not going to open a convalescence facility without staff. We are not going to follow your precedent, and move nursing-home-type patients into a convalescence facility. That is absolute nonsense.

Mr Smyth: When are you going to open the facility, that is the question.


: We are going to open it after we budget for it, because you spent the recurrent money. There is no money there for a convalescence facility. We have determined that some capital funds are available. We will utilise the capital funds, and

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