Page 2023 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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emissions within the ACT but also accounting for emissions that are produced elsewhere but are a direct consequence of our use of stationary energy, in principle, in the overwhelming majority of cases, electricity use, because obviously we do not generate emissions within the ACT from electricity generation but we do consume that electricity. Therefore, we account for that in the methodology that, again, is set out in action plan 2. I would encourage those opposite, if they have such a great interest in this, to perhaps do a little bit of homework and review action plan 2.

Health—food poisoning

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Can the minister update the Assembly on the current situation in relation to the food-borne illness outbreaks currently being experienced in Canberra?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. As members will know, the Health Protection Service is currently managing two unrelated outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the ACT which have occurred since the weekend relating to two different restaurants. The Chief Health Officer has responsibility for the response to this situation and has been making public statements around providing, I think, the community with the latest information that is possible.

Due to the fact that a large number of food-borne illness presentations have the potential to overwhelm ACT hospital and healthcare facilities, ACT Health yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock activated the health emergency control centre. The health controller, who is also the Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly, requested also that Canberra and Calvary hospitals activate their external disaster plans at 5 o’clock yesterday to effectively manage potential demand.

Related to that, the following actions were undertaken: Canberra Hospital arranged for additional staffing and identified units that could be used should there be an influx of patients; Calvary Hospital sourced additional beds, available in both the public and private hospitals; extra capacity in the hospital in the home was identified for use if required; the Chief Health Officer also liaised with New South Wales Health regarding the outbreak; and a request was made to Greater Southern Area Health Service for only life-threatening transfers to arrive in Canberra from regional New South Wales.

I think it is important for members to know that Canberra and Calvary hospitals have been able to maintain the provision of normal health services during the outbreak. It is hopeful that the peak in presentations for gastroenteritis occurred on 14 and 15 May. However, further cases may be identified. Investigations into the cause of the outbreak continue.

I would like to take this opportunity, I hope on behalf of the Assembly, to congratulate the staff on the fast and effective response both within the Health Protection Service—they have been working to identify the cause of the outbreak—and the staff at the hospitals who have been under enormous pressure treating the people who presented as unwell.

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