Page 775 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

two specialised assessment and planning units for medical and surgical patients to provide quicker transfer of patients from the emergency departments to specialist services, building and operating Australia’s first public, nurse-led walk-in centre to provide our community with another option for minor, one-off injuries and illnesses, and building four new operating theatres that have served to increase the capacity of our hospitals to meet the growing demand for emergency and elective surgery.

However, we have almost reached the physical capacity of the public hospital buildings we currently have. Instead of simply adding additional bits to meet growing demand, we decided to look to the future and redesign our public hospital services to meet the needs of our community well into the future in an integrated and strategic way.

While Canberra remains the bush capital, it is also now a vibrant metropolitan city, and by 2020 it will be even bigger, with an expected population of more than 400,000 people living in the ACT and more than 200,000 people living in the surrounding regions to whom we also provide hospital services. While our public hospitals have provided our community with excellent care and services over many years, we have a responsibility to ensure that the level of care that our community rightly expects is available as our community grows and health service demand increases.

The plan for hospital expansion is not about now; it is about ensuring that the next generation will also be able to access high quality and affordable public health services. This is why we established the capital asset development plan in 2008. While the name of the plan is unexceptional and perhaps needs to be renamed, the ideas in the plan will revolutionise how and where public hospital services are provided.

Our community can already see the plan in action with the new women’s and children’s hospital underway and with construction work also beginning on the new adult mental health facility, both on the Canberra Hospital campus. After these new services are up and running, we will start on the building of a new general hospital building on the TCH site. All of these facilities are being built to plans that have been developed with the input of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and, most importantly, patients to ensure that the completed structures meet the clinical needs of patients in the best environment.

Once completed, the Canberra Hospital will be able to continue its role as the major tertiary referral hospital of the region, providing the most complex services required by our community whilst also performing its role as a general hospital for the people of south Canberra.

The discussion paper outlines options for considering both the size of TCH and also the needs of the north side of Canberra. As Gungahlin continues to develop and with the first Molonglo residents expected to arrive next year, north Canberra’s hospital needs will continue to increase. This really provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink, reconfigure and reassess how our acute and subacute health needs should be delivered in five to eight years.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video