Page 774 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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Hospitals—bed numbers

Papers and statement by minister

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.47): I table the following papers:

Expanding hospital services in the ACT—An additional 400 beds—

Ministerial statement, 10 March 2011.

Options analysis, dated February 2011.

Health service delivery—Public consultation and discussion paper, dated February 2011.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the papers.

Recently, at the end of February 2011, I released a public consultation and discussion paper on the expansion of public hospital services in the ACT, accompanied by a detailed financial analysis of the options prepared by ACT Treasury. A discussion paper entitled “Expanding hospital services in the ACT—An additional 400 hospital beds” sets out the future needs of the public health system and provides five potential options to meet those needs.

The ACT Treasury analysis of the options provides the community with a valuable additional resource when considering all of the options in terms of which of them will best suit the needs of our community and the surrounding region into the future.

As I have said on a number of occasions in this place, this government is committed to providing high quality and accessible public health services into the future, but at the same time we have to ensure that we continue to provide those services in a financially responsible way. The biggest cost drivers in our public health system are our public hospitals. Public hospitals in the 21st century are extremely complex pieces of infrastructure. They require large numbers of highly skilled professionals and the latest medical equipment to best meet the needs of their communities.

As a government, we understand our community’s desire to ensure that our public hospitals continue to provide the range of services and equipment required to provide comprehensive, safe, effective and efficient services. No government in the history of the ACT has done more to invest in people and infrastructure to achieve that aim.

Over the last 8½ years we have more than doubled the funding available to public health services in the ACT; added 240 beds to the public hospital system; more than doubled the number of salaried doctors in our public hospitals from the 290 available when we first came to government to 649 reported for 2008-09 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; increased the number of nurses available by 60 per cent; introduced a range of support and development packages for GP services; and added a range of new services to meet the community’s needs, including a new neurosurgery suite, establishing the new subacute services at Calvary, establishing

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