Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 19 March 2015) . . Page.. 939 ..
training at the Canberra and Calvary hospitals, with nurses and doctors often having little knowledge of the condition. Minister, do you accept that medical staff often have little knowledge of Alzheimer’s?
MR CORBELL: It was a very general question, Madam Speaker. I guess it will depend on which medical staff Ms Lawder was referring to. We have very capable, experienced and specialist staff that deal with Alzheimer’s, but I am sure there are other members of the medical profession whose experience is not specialised in that area. It would depend very much on the individual circumstances of the staff involved.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.
MS LAWDER: Minister, do we have sufficient designated dementia specialists in our hospitals?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Lawder for the question. I think this is an issue that warrants closer examination. The issues raised by Alzheimer’s Australia are legitimate and the government will be following through on the issues that they raise. Do we have, as a health system, all of the steps in place that we need to respond to the growing level of demand due to an ageing population? No, we do not. But I think that here in the ACT we are better prepared than most, because this government has invested in an $850 million health infrastructure program initiative, the largest single investment in health services in the ACT since self-government, to make sure that we are better prepared for this enormous increase in demand that is coming towards us as a result of a growing and an ageing population.
The issues that Ms Lawder raises are not unfamiliar to the territory or indeed to health systems more generally across the country. Dealing with the consequences of an ageing and growing population brings particular challenges. But here in the ACT this Labor government has made the investments to be better prepared than most for those challenges. Whether it is investment in areas like our new cancer centre, investment in our new emergency department, investment in our new adult mental health facilities, investment in the new University of Canberra public hospital—these are all investments in making sure that we are better prepared for this change in our demographics as our city grows and ages.
It is worth highlighting that the designs I released earlier this week for the University of Canberra public hospital include dedicated dementia facilities to help meet that growing demand.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, why is it that you have spent less on health infrastructure in a decade than you are about to spend on one single tram track?
MR CORBELL: This government is making a record spend on health infrastructure—more than the Liberal Party ever put into health. We have grown the number of beds in the health system dramatically. We have dramatically expanded the