Page 4239 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Belconnen community health centre

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.17): The government delivered the new Belconnen community health centre to the public on 11 November on budget and on time. The health centre is a brilliant addition, both functionally and architecturally, to Belconnen, Canberra’s largest and most dynamic town centre. It is centrally located for the community on the corner of Lathlain and Cohen streets, opposite Westfield and the Cohen Street bus interchange, and includes patient parking.

I attended the public opening on 2 November, along with about 750 others who took the opportunity to walk through the curved, five-storey building with its state-of-the-art clinical facilities and modern equipment.

The Belconnen community health centre is part of the ACT government’s health infrastructure program, the largest capital works program undertaken in the history of the territory since self-government. It is turning the ACT healthcare system into one of the most technologically advanced, state-of-the-art healthcare systems in the world. It addresses our increasing and ageing population and the community’s shifts in attitudes towards health as well as understanding the changing patterns of physical and mental wellbeing.

The centre was designed in consultation with stakeholders which included health staff, other health services, the redevelopment unit, the local community and the Health Care Consumers Association. The Belconnen community health centre creates both an uplifting and protective environment. Its inspirational architecture and thoughtful workplace design works for both patient and staff health and wellbeing. The 11,000 square metre development is inviting and light-filled. The many windows connect the centre with its surroundings. Each level is decorated with a nature theme and window gardens and floors linked by spacious lifts and wide stairwells.

The sustainable design includes a double-glazed aluminium curtain wall facade system with integrated metallic frames, providing solar protection. It has energy efficient lighting, fresh air ventilation, air-cooled chillers, low-flow tapware and fixtures, stormwater retention tanks for irrigation, and electric car recharge points and facilities for cyclists.

The main building includes a basement car park with spaces predominantly for patients but also allocated parking for government fleet vehicles and community nurse vehicles. To make it easier for staff to work together across services and support the principle of patient-centred care, there are shared spaces, including consulting, treatment, interview and meetings rooms, that can be booked by different services. Patients will also benefit from the ease of a single booking system in one location for a range of services.

Over time, new services at the centre will include a nurse-led walk-in centre, breast screening, medical imaging, mental health and pathology collection. Services to be enhanced or increased are allied health services such as physiotherapy, child health, dental care, community nursing and ambulatory care services that are normally only

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