Page 3457 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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Ayes 9

Noes 6

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Burke

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Mr Mulcahy

Dr Foskey

Mr Quinlan

Mr Pratt

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Seselja

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Smyth

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital—psychiatric unit

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. In answer to a dixer yesterday about future mental health services, you told the Assembly that “the planning work we are undertaking” identifies 30 acute adult beds at the Canberra Hospital. Earlier this week I toured the refurbished psychiatric services unit at the Canberra Hospital. As you know, the psychiatric services unit has 30 acute-care adult beds. The staff there told me that they had been running at over 90 per cent occupancy for some time. The staff also told me that, if they had another 10 beds, they would be filled straight away.

Given the high occupancy rate at the psychiatric services unit and the staff’s belief that extra beds would be utilised, why, in your recent announcement on future mental health services, is there no consideration for extra acute adult beds?

MR CORBELL: The point that needs to be made is that the planning work that I outlined in the Assembly and in the press yesterday focuses on the planning for capacity for increased beds for children and young people and for forensic care patients. At the moment, the psychiatric services unit is meeting demand for all of those categories of client. They are meeting demand for children and young people right now. Right now we do not have a choice: they go into the psychiatric services unit. At the same time, from time to time forensic-type patients are potentially also accommodated in the psychiatric services unit.

It is quite clear that the government’s planning for additional capacity will free up pressure on the PSU, because specialised services will meet the needs, for example, of children and young people. That means that we are effectively creating additional bed capacity at the PSU. I would have thought that that was patently obvious to anyone who looked at the announcement yesterday.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. The staff told me that very few young people are admitted to the PSU. Will you table documents to support your claim that young people are admitted, and perhaps their numbers for the past 12 months?

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