Page 1029 - Week 03 - Thursday, 3 April 2008

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Overall the number of ACT Health claims reaching five days incapacity has decreased. The comment in the 2006/07 Annual Report referred to an internal ACT classification system whereby claims are categorized as type 1or type 2. Comcare has a similar classification system. Type 1 claims require little or no time off work, whereas type 2 claims are the more complex ones. Examples of type 2 claims are those that may require surgery, lacerations, fractures, tears, muscular lumbar and back strain, muscle spasm, or disc injury. Every accident /injury is treated as a unique case and is managed by ACT Health’s return to work co-coordinators along with, as appropriate, their treating GP’s and specialists, our occupational physician, vocational and rehabilitation advisors and Comcare. As a result of the introduction of an internal staff physiotherapy service and other initiatives some of the smaller claims received in past years are no longer being received thus the comment in the Annual Report.

(Question No 1865)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 14 February 2008:

(1) What was the number of agency nurses employed in the ACT during (a) 2001-02, (b) 2002-03, (c) 2003-04, (d) 2004-05, (e) 2005-06, (f) 2006-07, (g) 2007-08 to date;

(2) What was the cost of agency nursing for the periods stated in part (1);

(3) What was the average number of full-time equivalent vacant nursing positions during October, November and December 2007;

(4) What is the cost differential between agency nurses and nurses employed directly by The Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The Comparison of Agency nurse usage from 2000 to 2007 is of limited use in terms of trends because there have been significant changes in service provision and rostering practices.

During this period ACT Health has substantially increased service provision, including increased numbers of Aged Care beds, Rehabilitation beds and Operation Theatre rooms.

The ACT public hospitals morbidity data sets 2000-01 and 2006-07 show an increase of 34% in hospital separations and 30% increase in bed days.

Admitted patient activity




% change






Bed days





Source: ACT public hospitals morbidity data sets 2000-01 and 2006-07

Total public hospital separations (excluding unqualified neonates and chemotherapy)

This growth in service provision has increased the total staff requirements and consequently agency nurse requirements.

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