Page 3348 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
I will have to go and check around bypass. I have not seen any reports of bypass being used specifically, although again it is used from time to time for operational reasons when either Calvary or Canberra emergency departments, for one reason or another, need to go on bypass.
Because there are so many different codes, I would need to go back and, over a three-month period, have a look at those different arrangements that are put in place.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Thanks, minister. When you do so, could you clarify if any patients have been turned away from Canberra Hospital or referred to other health facilities as a consequence of any such emergencies?
MS GALLAGHER: Patients will be referred to other health services from time to time. I am not sure that it would be worth the—
Mr Hanson: As a result of the emergencies.
MS GALLAGHER: As a result of different codes. I can say that no person who needed attention at a hospital would have been turned away due to a code, even on bypass. All bypass stands for is that ambulances will be redirected to the hospital that is not on bypass. It does not actually turn away individual patients. I will certainly check the record, but it would be very, very unusual for hospitals to turn people away if they were requiring hospital treatment.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.
MRS JONES: Minister, what are the risks to the Canberra community if these events do occur or have occurred?
MS GALLAGHER: It is a bit hypothetical, in the sense that I am not sure what events we are talking about. There are different codes put in place for different reasons across the hospital. It is usually the way of alerting hospital staff that there may be a problem. In the sense that you are raising it today, it is around capacity issues. Those are managed, as they should be, on an hour-by-hour basis by the hospital. They do that very well. The hospital staff do that very well.
But the hospital has been incredibly busy. As to its occupancy rate, the last figure I saw yesterday was that Canberra Hospital has been operating at 96 per cent capacity through the winter period. So we have been experiencing very high demands for services.
If you were in Victoria, of course, they would welcome that because I think they have to operate their beds at 95 per cent occupancy under activity-based funding. That is how they ensure funding efficiencies. But we have set ourselves a lower target here, and the hospital is operating above that, based on the nature of a very busy winter period.