Page 2836 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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In conclusion, there is an ongoing safety concern for staff at the adult mental health unit. Those are precious staff that are hard to come by; there is recognition of that in the scholarships that are being offered. More needs to be done to give them safety at work in accordance with our own occupational health and safety legislation in the ACT. The secure mental health unit is now 11 years behind schedule; I hope that it will be concluded soon.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (11.21): Canberrans rightly expect governments to provide quality health services that keep pace with demand. This government is absolutely determined, in the face of pressure from federal liberal government cuts, to meet that expectation. In Belconnen, this government is planning for the future with a new public hospital and extensive upgrades to Calvary. The new University of Canberra public hospital will be a purpose-built subacute facility, providing rehabilitation, aged care and mental health care facilities. It will have 140 inpatient beds and 75 day places.

Importantly, its co-location with the University of Canberra campus will allow for new training and research opportunities. The government has chosen this model to meet the needs of a growing Belconnen and, indeed, a growing north side, keeping in mind what an ageing population means for health care. Construction will begin next year, and this budget also includes funds for the provision of 400 parking spaces at the site.

Calvary Hospital is Belconnen’s most vital health facility, and the government is improving it with the upgrades and equipment that it needs to continue providing Belconnen and the north side with quality, modern hospital care. This budget invests $12.4 million in Calvary upgrades, including: $5.6 million for a complete refurbishment of the operating theatres, including new equipment; $3.1 million for development at Calvary to enable 12 new acute beds; and $3.7 million for new imaging services, including a second CT scanner.

Construction is also underway on the new five-storey car park at Calvary, which will have over 700 parking spaces. All of this follows on from the work this government has done in establishing the Belconnen nurse-led walk-in centre in 2014, part of the Belconnen Community Health Centre.

Another key initiative in the budget is funding to expand the hospital in the home program. This program provides medical and nursing support in the home environment so that people who have had surgery or other treatment can undergo their rehabilitation, to a large extent, at home. Funding in this year’s budget allows for the expansion of hospital in the home by six bed equivalents across Canberra.

The initiatives for health in this budget continue the ACT Labor government’s strong record of continual investment in our health system. In every budget, we have assessed the community’s health needs, calibrated responses, and made significant new investments. I am proud to say that the initiatives in this year’s budget respond to the needs of Belconnen residents and plan for the future.

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