Page 1577 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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The GP workforce working group, which was established in 2003, continues to meet and it will provide information to the task force. That has led to some significant improvements in training opportunities for junior doctors. Of course, the nurse-led walk-in centres will feed into this, and we are also developing the community-based health services plan. So there is a lot of work ongoing at the moment.

In addition, I have met with Nicola Roxon’s office to talk about whether there is anything else the commonwealth can do to support the issues that we are seeing here in the territory. In a way the closest jurisdiction where these issues are being replicated is the Northern Territory, so I have had a meeting to discuss whether there is a preparedness from the commonwealth to work with us to develop some other solutions to the workforce shortage, because the simple fact of it is that we are not going to be able to wave a magic wand and have 60 GPs come and work here. So we have to work within the framework of a workforce shortage and look at how we build the workforce for the future.

The Division of General Practice, the AMA and I are singing from the same song sheet when we say this is around delivering longer-term solutions and it is around training and upskilling the next generation of doctors, because they are the ones that we need to get to and encourage them to make a choice about practising in general practice. Traditionally, it is not an area of choice for doctors. They make decisions about going into hospital-based training and on to specialise in a particular area of medicine. We need to make GPs an attractive workplace for junior doctors to consider. That will be the biggest change to the workforce that we can deliver.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Hospitals—dischargeable patients

Alexander Maconochie Centre—services

MS GALLAGHER: Ms Hunter asked me a question on the number of dischargeable patients in hospital. It was eight. I have had that confirmed.

On 12 February I was asked a question which I have not responded to. I took a question on notice during question time. That was Amanda Bresnan’s question on community organisations providing services at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The question related to agreements being changed without any further funding support. The question was:

Can the minister advise the Assembly how the incorporation of these new requirements were negotiated and if it was a process that was entered into voluntarily?

The answer is that the agreements commenced in 2007-08, and most of them are three-year agreements. The agreements were entered into voluntarily by the non-government organisations. There was no concern expressed at any time by NGOs to ACT Health about the proposed reference to the provision of services to adult

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