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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 27 October 2011) . . Page.. 5167 ..


The advantage of having accommodation off the Canberra Hospital campus is that the patient and their carer, if they choose to have one, are away from the treatment facility in a quiet suburban setting. The house—it was located on allhomes—comprises six living suites, each with an ensuite and sitting room to allow for a private space. There is a large common space, including kitchen, family and recreational room, as well as decks, which provide a nice outdoor space for the patient and their loved ones.

We believe the average length of stay for a patient undergoing treatment at the facility will be in the order of six to eight weeks. I think this is a fantastic outcome and I acknowledge the officer involved who, whilst looking for land on which to build a purpose-built facility, actually came across this purpose-built facility on a website for sale. It was just a fantastic outcome—a nice and rare situation where all the stars lined up—and we will, hopefully, be able to get the house up and running in the next few months so that people can stay there and we can provide six more accommodation options in the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, a supplementary.

DR BOURKE: Minister, in terms of cancer treatment, can you provide details on how many people were treated through our cancer services here in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke. Cancer services have been busier than ever over the past 12 months. The Capital Region Cancer Service provided more than 53,000 occasions of outpatient care and over 3,800 occasions of inpatient care in the last financial year. This is growth over the previous years in both of those categories. The Capital Region Cancer Service provided care for 1,229 radiotherapy patients in 2010-11, which again was growth in the order of 2½ per cent.

Importantly, even with this increase, the staff of the Capital Region Cancer Service are doing an amazing job. One hundred per cent of the most urgent radiotherapy patients have received their treatment within the clinically recommended time of 48 hours.

In the 2010-11 budget we did provide an additional million dollars to cover costs associated with the increased activity in and demand for cancer services. This funding has allowed for the recruitment of an additional five radiation therapists to help meet the growing demand for this type of service. We have also expanded accommodation on ward 14A to improve clinical services for medical oncology, haematology and immunology, with the outpatient department. We have got extra consultation rooms, and the extension of the clinical treatment area has allowed the service to respond to the growing demand.

Also, the service has been able to increase palliative care services—we talked about this yesterday—with the palliative care nurse practitioner, a level 2 registered nurse and a psychologist. The recruitment of an additional psychologist and another palliative care nurse practitioner is underway.

In addition to this extra capacity, late last year the ACT started treating patients with a new prostate high-dose rate brachytherapy program, allowing for the provision of a


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