Page 185 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question and, indeed, for the health-focused question time we are having today—my favourite subject. I will just go through some of the plans we have across the health system. These were commitments that the Labor Party made. Interestingly, a number of them were the commitments the Liberal Party made too after the Labor Party had made them.
We have made commitments of $170 million to add 170 beds across the health system and an expansion of hospital-in-the-home by 24 bed equivalents to make more efficient use of our hospitals. To improve on facilities at Calvary hospital, we will be looking at a car park there and also fit-out for a new birth centre. There is extra money for cancer outpatient services with the cancer centre, which I am sure all members will be very pleased to see open next year. There is $10 million for outpatients to keep up with the growth in demand we are seeing there.
There is extra money going into mental health, an extra 5,000 operations over the next four years and the employment of an additional 500 doctors, nurses and health professionals. As I have just said in answer to previous questions, it is not all about beds and the traditional way of providing health services. It has to be around different ways of working and making sure that we are meeting those areas of pressure.
For example, there are new services like a maternity assessment unit to provide rapid transfer of women to high level obstetric care, the mobile dental clinic to take dental services into places like aged care facilities, the new paediatric stream within the emergency department to change the way that we triage and treat children and the new rapid assessment and planning unit at Calvary hospital, which is a new response for people who present to Calvary with more complex conditions.
We are also looking at more services in the community to take pressure off the two main hospitals, which are experiencing unprecedented demand, and to free up space and enable the expansion of acute services within those campuses. I am referring to things like the new walk-in centres in Belconnen and Tuggeranong, the new subacute hospital, the University of Canberra Public Hospital and also some of the services that will open at the Belconnen enhanced community health centre next year, which will provide people with access for the first time to renal dialysis closer to where they live on the north side of Canberra. That will be a big change and ease some of the pressure for renal dialysis services at the Canberra Hospital.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.
MR GENTLEMAN: Chief Minister, how will the commitments that you have made to invest in health infrastructure support your vision for a modern and sustainable health system?
MS GALLAGHER: The health infrastructure program is a complete overhaul of the way that we have been providing health services and it is a long-term project. It is not necessarily going to deliver the changes we would like to see across the health system immediately, but what it does is create the capacity within the system and support new models of care as they are provided, particularly in the community, with things like