Page 2288 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary from Mr Gentleman in a moment. I am not quite sure how long the answer to that supplementary question was because we did not start the clock.

Ms Gallagher: I did not exceed two minutes.

MADAM SPEAKER: I do not think you did. Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what initiatives are included in the budget to enhance the emergency departments at Canberra and Calvary hospitals, and why were these prioritised?

MS GALLAGHER: We are needing to expand and continue to support the emergency departments as presentations continue to increase. So the budget does have some targeted measures to support the emergency department at both our public hospitals.

There will be the establishment of an eight-bed rapid assessment and planning unit at Calvary hospital. There will be an expansion of the emergency management unit at Canberra Hospital of six beds, an additional 31 general in-patient beds, increased staffing and resources to support those new initiatives. There will be a paediatric nurse within the emergency department—and it is a senior nurse who is able to make decisions at that high clinical level—to improve the flow of young people to move through and into the paediatric or adolescent services at Canberra Hospital. There will also be expansion of the hospital in the home program and, of course, some of those community initiatives around the opening of the walk-in centres in the community.

We are looking at this as a whole-of-health system and a whole-of-health approach. Really the biggest initiatives that will help the emergency department are initiatives that sit outside the emergency department, and this budget reflects that.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what increases in staffing will be needed to support these initiatives?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. Overall, with respect to the initiatives contained in the new budget commitments that we are delivering on, there will be 131 new jobs, full-time equivalent jobs, added to the ACT Health workforce, including staff at Canberra Hospital. The majority of those staff are nurses—83 of them are nurses. The balance are made up of doctors and allied health professionals. By way of example, 38 staff, including 28 nurses, one doctor and four allied health professionals, will be required to support the additional inpatient beds and hospital in the home places at the Canberra hospital. We are also factoring in extra staff for the Belconnen walk-in centre, and of course there are about 17 extra staff at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

These are targeted. They have gone to areas of pressure. They are not only going to areas of pressure; they are also going to support the expansion of those services which

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