Page 493 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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One of the challenges of operating a maternity service like the one in the ACT is that you have to provide private midwives, public midwives, community midwives, high care through the foetal medical unit, the NICU, with all of the nursing staff there. We provide a range of options for women to meet all women’s choices. But, at times, that will place workforce pressures, and the community midwives program is one of those areas.

In terms of recruitment of nurses and midwives, that is ongoing. It is constant. We are offering more opportunities for graduates. The new course out at the University of Canberra allows people to get a Bachelor of Midwifery. They do not have to do their registered nursing training. I think that will help in the future. But at the moment it is certainly an area of pressure, as it is for every health system across the country.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, what planning has been conducted to ensure that the Canberra University public hospital has adequate staff to maintain this facility once it is opened?

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Wall might not know that a proportion of the beds that will be provided in the northside hospital are beds that are currently operating across Calvary and Canberra hospitals in the subacute settings. But the workforce planning that has been done in health also runs alongside the new services and the new beds that we are planning to open.

A detailed workforce plan—I am not sure if it was provided to the opposition—or a clinical services plan which covers off a lot of the planning going forward was released. That goes into some detail. But it is extensive in Health. You have to plan your workforce. You cannot open services if you do not have the workforce to staff them.

But at times that will still mean we have areas of pressure. We have it in medical specialities. We have it in allied health specialities. We have it in nursing. We have it right across the board down to ward staff—wardsmen. All those areas experience workforce pressures, as they do in every single health system across the country, regardless of which political party is in government.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you inform the Assembly what benefits will arise for my constituents in the electorate of Ginninderra from the opening of the new subacute hospital at the University of Canberra?

MS GALLAGHER: It will have a number of benefits. One is that it will be a big employment base in the electorate of Ginninderra. It will also have very strong ties with the University of Canberra, which is a big employer in this town, and will strengthen the university’s ability to attract and retain really high quality staff in the areas of medical specialty that will be provided at the subacute hospital. So it certainly will have very significant support for employment in the electorate of Ginninderra.

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