Page 474 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson! You have asked your question.

MR CORBELL: of readmission of any public hospital system in the country.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what are you doing to ensure the levels of available nursing care are sufficient to address issues of poor patient care at Canberra Hospital?

MR CORBELL: We are continuing to invest in additional nursing and, indeed, medical staff. For example, later this year we will commence a significant extension of the emergency department at the Canberra Hospital. We will be putting in place more beds; we will be putting in place more nursing and medical staff to support those beds. So that is a direct response to the increase in demand and a great example of how we are focusing on continuing to improve the quality of care.

I would not say that the quality of care is poor. I would not say that. Those opposite can say that, but there is no doubt that the quality of care at the Canberra Hospital is some of the best in the country. But does that mean that there are not areas where we can improve? Of course it does not mean that. There will be and are areas where we need to improve and we will continue to focus on those, working collaboratively with nursing, medical and allied health staff.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what is the status of, and how is the government tracking on, the suite of nine measures to improve patient care announced by the previous minister last November?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Jones for her supplementary. I am very pleased to say that that work is ongoing. In particular, we have seen the implementation of the patient and family escalation process and call and respond early standard operating procedure for patients and their families to make sure that we are responding in a timely and effective way to patient concerns about quality of care. That, I think, is exactly what we should be doing.

There are a broad range of steps being put in place. Growing capacity in our health system is a key priority for the government, to ensure that we maintain quality of care and that we continue to improve it. Whether it is more beds in the emergency department or whether it is growing our capacity in terms of elective surgery, we now have the lowest elective surgery rates since 2004. That is fantastic in terms of people who are waiting longer than the prescribed time. To get to that level is very pleasing.

We continue, for example, to also see improvements in timeliness to access in our emergency department. In our emergency departments, for the second year in a row, we have improved timeliness in terms of people waiting less than four hours for

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