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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 August 2008) . . Page.. 3456 ..

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, isn’t your solution to the GP shortages in the ACT in fact the opening of medical clinics with no doctors?

MS GALLAGHER: Poor Mrs Burke! You just do not understand the concept of a nurse-led service. Nurses nurse, and nurses offer medical solutions to patients when they need to. They do it now. In fact, our fast-track program at the emergency department is largely nurse-led, and they do things like—wait for it!—suturing, administration of pain relief, early diagnosis and the ordering of tests that may be needed. Doctors are not the only people able to provide solutions to people’s health issues when they have them.

We do need the support of the medical fraternity; we do need the support of the doctors to get these walk-in clinics operating, if only from the point of view that I would like to have broad agreement around the protocols that need to be established to govern this. But the idea is a very exciting one. In the UK, these are highly successful. The patient satisfaction rates are incredible, and the throughput is absolutely amazing. When you open these clinics, the people come, and the treatment they receive is first rate. It offers nurses in the ACT the ability to work in an environment where they can’t currently work to the capacity that an outpost walk-in clinic, nurse-led, would offer them.

In fact, recently I received an email from an ex-matron of a walk-in centre in the UK who is now living over here. She said: “This all looks very exciting. I’ve got extensive knowledge of how these operate and am prepared to come in and talk with you about how they do that.” That is an offer that I am going to take up, because the only solutions to the workforce problems in health have to be realistic and achievable, and that is what a nurse-led walk-in clinic offers to the people of Canberra. To try to offer the people of Canberra a service that is unfunded, undeliverable, does not cover all the costs that will be incurred and is currently not able to be done under the law is not achievable or realistic. That is the fundamental difference between us and them. I think the people of Canberra have already cottoned on to that.

Housing affordability

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, could you advise the Assembly on the government’s achievements in improving the affordability of housing in Canberra for first home buyers, particularly through increasing the supply of land release?

MR SPEAKER: Before I call the Chief Minister, I indicate that there are too many conversations going on. If members would like to have a conversation, they should go to the lobby. The Chief Minister has the floor and would like some silence.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Porter for the question and the opportunity to talk about the government’s progress on addressing the national issue of housing affordability at an ACT level. This government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. In fact, while the ACT remains the most affordable city to live in, in the view of the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s housing affordability index, with

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