Page 174 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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The allegations contained in the media release—“Patient refused treatment due to two missed appointments”—almost came close to the media release issued the next day or the day after—“Where’s the health spaceship, minister?” I am still working through the enjoyable reading contained in that release. When I was reading this media release, I am going, “Refused treatment? How could a public patient be refused treatment?” It is a commitment under the Australian health care agreement that wherever you turn up at any public hospital, you must be seen. You cannot be refused treatment, and I am reading and I am thinking, “How can this possibly be the case?” and then I think, “It’s a patient referred from a GP to someone who has rooms in Deakin.” I felt this little part of me going, “Well, I don’t think this is anything to do with the public system,” and it was not. But, do not worry, because the public system will provide the treatment and services that this patient needs.

Mrs Burke: He was told he was a public patient.

MS GALLAGHER: You need to tell him that he was not. (Time expired.)

Health—capital works funding

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is also to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the progress of new capital works funded in recent budgets across the ACT health system?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is important to provide an update to the Assembly. Not only has this government provided record investment in capital infrastructure in education—I think around $350 million in capital investment in education—we also provided significant investments across the health portfolio. There are a number on which I can now update the Assembly.

The second appropriation bill included capital upgrades to the Canberra hospital emergency department waiting room, particularly around how we support parents with children who are waiting to be seen there. We have funded the nuclear medicine equipment at the Canberra hospital to deal with a projected 60 per cent increase in demand for services. The second appropriation also included funding for the superficial X-ray radiotherapy treatment unit at Canberra hospital with modern technology.

We are moving forward with our new $29 million multistorey car park at the Canberra hospital. The car park will provide an additional 1,400 spaces on the campus. Tenders for this project closed on 13 December 2007 and a preferred tenderer is in the process of being identified. Construction is currently scheduled for completion by June 2009.

The design of the refurbishment and expansion of the neonatal intensive care unit is underway. The forward design budget of just under $800,000 has been awarded and completion of the design work is expected in the first part of this year. Design work for the adult mental health acute inpatient unit and the high secure mental health inpatient unit for forensic patients has also been funded. This work is drawing to a completion and, subject to the next budget process, construction could commence in late 2008.

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