Page 47 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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MRS BURKE: I ask a supplementary question. I appreciate the minister’s response. Also, minister, would you find out what steps are being taken to address the serious breaches in security and the other problems associated with that?

MS GALLAGHER: Firstly, I will establish if there has been any serious breach. Certainly I have not been aware of one. I know that extensive work has been done on the security at Quamby.

In respect of all the detail that Mrs Burke alludes to, there is a constant issue about how to manage residents at a juvenile detention facility. Many of them do not wish to be located in the place and the staff work to ensure that they are well and safely looked after. As I said to Mrs Burke, I will take advice and I will inform the Assembly once I have that information.

Calvary Public Hospital—psychogeriatric facility

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, last week you turned the sod at the site of the ACT government’s new $9.75 million subacute and psychogeriatric facility at Calvary. How will this be of benefit to Canberrans?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. I am very pleased to confirm to the Assembly that work on the new subacute and psychogeriatric facility at Calvary Public Hospital is now under way. This new project will house two units for subacute and psychogeriatric care here in the ACT. As members would know, the distinct lack of psychogeriatric facilities, in particular, has been a major gap in the level of health services provided to our community and one that I am very pleased that the government is moving to plug and to provide an adequate and comprehensive service.

This new facility will predominantly be for people over the age of 65. It will comprise a subacute rehabilitation unit, with 28 new subacute beds, and a further 12 new subacute beds located within the existing buildings at Calvary Public Hospital. Ten of these new beds will be operational from next month and will link into the new facility when it comes online in early 2007. When complete, the new subacute facility will contain 60 new beds, 51 of which are extra and the remaining nine existing convalescent beds. Amongst these will be two new designated bariatric beds within the subacute facility, for patients requiring rehabilitation, and, as I have already indicated, a new 20-bed psychogeriatric unit, which will care for elderly patients with acute cases of mental illness and behavioural problems associated with dementia.

This is an important investment for our community. What it means is that we will now have a dedicated facility to assist those older residents in our community with mental illness, along with a significant increase in our capacity to allow for people going through rehabilitation and convalescence. This has been one of the real weaknesses of the ACT health system to date: people requiring convalescence or requiring rehabilitation have had to be accommodated overwhelmingly in medical beds and acute care beds in our hospitals. With the establishment of the new subacute facility, they will be able to be accommodated in that facility instead, and that frees up those medical beds and acute care beds to meet the demands that have to be addressed.

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