Page 4969 - Week 13 - Thursday, 12 November 2009

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MR STANHOPE: I will have to take that on notice, as I am sure you will appreciate. I am more than happy to do that. Indeed, I am more than happy in relation to this quite complex issue that we as an Assembly, a government and a community are involved in to say that the government stands ready to provide any member of this place with any information on any aspect of this particular issue that they wish or desire. We will seek to provide that information in an expedited way.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, is it the case that some clients are receiving home-based palliative care because they are waiting to get into the hospice?

MR STANHOPE: That is not my understanding. Once again, I do not have the day-to-day management of this, as you are aware. I regret that Ms Gallagher is not here today. I could perhaps go through these briefs and find it, but I do not have the advantage of day-to-day briefings or information in relation to numbers and occupancy at Clare Holland House. We have now expanded the hospice to 19 individual rooms or beds. I know it does operate at a very high occupancy rate, but it is not my understanding that it is full, or always full—although, of course, in relation to any facility, there will be times when perhaps there will not be a bed available. But my understanding is certainly not that there is significant pressure on beds or bed numbers at the hospice.

With respect to the choice which many people make now, I was advised this morning, in a briefing on the hospice, that the continuing trend in relation to palliative care is for more and more people proportionately to choose to receive palliative care in their homes. The strong desire of the majority of Canberrans is to die at home. Indeed, I was advised this morning, but I did not receive numbers, in relation to the trend. I was advised this morning that the trend continues to be away from the hospice to the home and to receive palliative care at home through the wonderful outreach services that are provided under the new model which is more expansive and which is inclusive of community nurses, GPs and, indeed, nurses working within the aged-care setting.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary question?

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, are you aware of the views of the palliative care nursing staff, as represented by the Australian Nursing Federation, with regard to the proposal to sell Clare Holland House, and can you guarantee there will be no change to any employment conditions for palliative care nurses as a result of the transfer of ownership to the Little Company of Mary?

MR STANHOPE: Certainly the government is very aware of concerns, understandable concerns, of staff at Clare Holland House who are currently employed as public servants in relation to a continuation of their terms and conditions. The minister and her department have had detailed discussions, which the minister intends to continue, with those staff about their concerns. I believe she has a further meeting scheduled for next week with staff. In the context of that, we are aware of that

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