Page 3349 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Are there long-term plans to reduce such events in the future?

MS GALLAGHER: All of the planning around ensuring appropriate access to the hospital is done. But having said that, find me a hospital in the world that does not have periods of capacity constraint that has to be managed through operational responses. It is just the nature of hospitals. For example, the food poisoning outbreak presented a particular challenge. That was called a code brown, actually, under the different Health emergency management responses.

So there will be times when hospitals experience capacity constraints and no matter what planning you do around that, it does not stop the number of patients coming through the door. The hospital’s challenge is to manage that on an hour-by-hour basis. I would say that we are very well served by both Calvary and Canberra and the dedication of staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to manage these issues when they arise.

There are different responses. I know that in the winter there was a period when both hospitals were struggling for bed capacity. So a process went through around looking at discharge, looking at ramping up hospital in the home, looking at presentations through the emergency department and even on a couple of days looking at the elective surgery load in order to manage the presentations that were coming through. This is not peculiar to Canberra. It happens at every single hospital.


MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, ACT Labor made an election commitment of $400,000 over four years for a preschool matters program, with $100,000 to be spent in 2013-14. The budget has an allocation of only $45,000 this financial year, and the program has been reduced to $318,000 over the four years. Exactly what will the $45,000 be spent on?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Doszpot for his interest. The moneys will be spent on a number of things. It is about supporting the ongoing grant we provide to the preschool association. Not every activity we do around preschools and supporting enrolments in preschools and informing families about the importance of those early years is an individual budget line, and a number of those activities will be absorbed within the Education and Training Directorate. But there is work about informing parents about the importance of early years, about the enrolment process and about what schools are within area for families. It is also about recognising the national quality framework and, indeed, how we on this side of the room fully support the importance of early years.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: That is very good to hear, Ms Burch. What consultations were held with the Canberra Preschool Society on involvement with this program—as I

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