Page 175 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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The $18.7 million linear accelerator project is underway. Again, this will significantly increase our capacity to provide radiation oncology services. The construction of the bunker began in 2007 and all building works are on target and within budget. The handover of the bunker took place on 20 January 2008 and the new Linac was delivered on 21 January 2008. It is scheduled for commissioning on 2 July 2008. There will be some small disruption to normal operations while we move staff to a temporary relocation. We hope to minimise the disruption to clinical operations as much as possible.

Last year we opened the medical assessment and planning unit at the hospital with a $1.25 million capital investment. This has added 16 beds to the system and we will be opening another ward of beds, most likely for surgical patients, later this year.

We also have the second MRI at a cost of $2 million over four years. It has provided a significant increase in capacity, with an extra 10 to 15 scans being performed a day or up to 3,000 scans per year. This has dramatically reduced waiting periods for MRI screens.

As part of our capital investment at the hospital we are having to reclaim ward space which had previously been converted into admin space, and I would like to put on the record that this government has not converted any ward space to admin space. The previous government did and we are reopening those spaces and putting beds in. We are swapping the admin space for beds. We are having a look at a whole range of areas, particularly across Canberra hospital as we look to resume space within the hospital and reallocation of space for other services at the hospital.

Those projects that I have listed total $56.5 million. They cover mental health and new and emergent technologies. They are looking at car parks, at children and at improvements in our emergency department. They are all on track and all on budget and should be delivered within this year.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, has this investment reached beyond the acute services to the wider health system?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, whilst the acute hospital services always take a fair slice of the health pie, we have also invested quite considerably in services outside of the acute system. The obvious area, of course, has been the SNAS, the sub and non-acute facility, which opened up in February 2007. That has provided an additional 60 beds but it has provided an enormous capacity now for more appropriate accommodation for those people needing particular services including rehabilitation. Also having the older persons mental health unit, which cost just under $10 million to build, has provided extra capacity.

We also have invested in capital that will support our needs in terms of workforce and educating our own workforce, and that has been delivered through the UC allied health building. I think we are already snapping up all the graduates coming out of that area of the University of Canberra, including the nutrition, pharmacy and

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