Page 1444 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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created. Also, more ambulant treatment areas were created for see-and-treat processes and improved physical flow, with non-acute patients segregated from acute patients.

The Canberra hospital emergency department expansion project is linked also to the intensive care unit extension, which is underway now. The ED-ICU project involves a three-story extension to the diagnostics and treatment building at Canberra Hospital, which is known as building 12. It is located near the emergency department on the Yamba Drive side. The three-storey extension is designed to increase the capacity of the hospital’s critical care facilities and will help to address continuing increase in demand for these services.

It will include an expansion of ICU on level 3, an expansion of the emergency department on level 2, and the addition of storage and plant facilities on level 1. The construction will also include alterations to the intensive care unit balcony on level 3. Services to be accommodated within the ICU include high dependency services and intensive care services. The extension project will deliver eight additional treatment spaces in the emergency management unit of the ED and seven in the intensive care unit, which will be opened incrementally as funding and demand progresses.

Staffing and other initiatives in the emergency department of Canberra Hospital include front loading, where treatment spaces are available during peak hours of the day allowing patients to be assessed and treated by an ED doctor more rapidly and expansion of the discharge lounge in August of last year from a 10-chair unit to a 12-chair three-bed unit enabling patients to leave the wards earlier thus freeing up beds for patients being admitted via the emergency department.

I mention also the expansion of the see-and-treat model, where allocated teams of doctors and nurses provide more rapid flow of the low acuity patients. Promoting referral to the walk-in centre is another initiative that continues to be a very popular choice for many people. We have also, of course, opened the short stay surgical unit and the SAPU and the MAPU to help relieve pressure on the emergency department.

We also made some commitments in the election around funding expansion of services in Canberra Hospital and also to boost staff as well, and we are working on implementing those initiatives as part of the budget process.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, can you outline for the Assembly plans for a dedicated paediatric stream for the emergency department at Canberra Hospital?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the supplementary. Approximately 25 per cent of presentations to the Canberra Hospital emergency department are now considered paediatric patients. I think there has been an acknowledgement that it is not ideal to have children and adults treated in the same treating space and also in the same waiting area. I very strongly believe that dedicated facilities for children are more appropriate, particularly when it is reaching a quarter of all presentations being paediatric patients.

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