Page 485 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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That work will inform the government—and it will inform the community—on the health system infrastructure needs right up to 2022, when we know we will have hit our peak in terms of health demand. We need to be prepared for it. The interim report provided to me was that the hospital service capacity will need to grow by about 60 per cent by 2022. The major drivers of the growth will be increased demand for emergency department, intensive care, inpatient, rehabilitation, palliative care and cancer services.

We were lucky that whoever chose to build the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital on those blocks of land made the right decision. The work has shown that you could not have two better located hospitals than in the north and the south of Canberra, near major roads and near residential communities.

We also need to plan a heath facility for the future that takes into account improvements in technology and the changing needs of the workforce. The traditional workforce of doctor and nurse will not be able to meet the health demands of the future. We will need to look at how those professions are designed and how we use other professions to support us in delivering health care.

The report also looks at how hospital rooms should be established—at the most optimum way of looking after patients in hospital and the optimum way of having nurses and hospital staff care for those people.

There will be a massive revolution in e-health over the next few years. Australia is behind other countries in terms of e-health technology. At the moment health ministers are working on a national strategy for e-health. We need national cooperation. There is no point in setting up an e-health system in the ACT that will not work in Queensland; that just does not cut it. We need a national approach to this.

Over the next 10 to 15 years, there will be a massive revolution in how people are treated in hospital. If we rebuild Canberra Hospital and significantly redevelop Calvary Hospital, we need to make sure that we build them in a way that will allow the use of those technologies into the future.

There are a lot of different elements in this plan. It is not about short-term electoral gain; it is about making sure that in 2020 the health system in Canberra gives people the services they need and the beds they need. It will be extraordinarily expensive. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars but we are talking about a 10 to 15-year period.

Once the report is given to me, I am happy to come back and provide the Assembly with full details of it. I will need to talk to the community about it, because this is something that needs community discussion. Many of the health stakeholder groups have been involved in discussions around future needs, but once I get that report I need to go out to the community and talk further with them about what it says. Hopefully—maybe—we will get a unanimous Assembly view on this work. It is important. It is not political; it is not electoral. It is just what we need for our community in terms of health services.

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