Page 2837 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (11.24): I welcome the opportunity to speak about the health budget in this year’s 2015-16 ACT budget. I am very pleased to speak about the continued investment this Labor government is making in the area of health services and the importance we attach to maintaining this investment.

The health of Canberrans will always be Labor’s top priority and the 2015-16 ACT budget invests further in our health system. The budget alone invests $1.5 billion to increase and support health services for the Canberra community—the biggest level of expenditure ever and nearly one-third of the total ACT budget. This means better services, better equipment, better facilities and more beds. The budget invests more than $161 million in new health funding over four years to deliver better support, better services, better equipment, better facilities and more beds right across Canberra.

My priorities as Minister for Health are well known and my focus and my priorities will continue to be delivering hundreds of thousands of quality healthcare services across the health system, raising awareness of mental health issues and improving access to care for those who need it, ensuring that the health infrastructure program continues to enable Canberrans to get the right care at the right time in the right place, and promoting proactive health initiatives and steps to manage the growing level of obesity in our community.

In the ACT we are privileged to have a wonderful service and staff that provide high-level care to people around the clock, every day of the year. This budget will continue to fund the expansion of health services and improvements in service delivery to meet the needs of the Canberra community now and into the future.

We are investing $40.6 million in funding for more beds and services. There is $23 million for new general hospital beds at the Canberra Hospital and Calvary to open 16 new general acute beds across the public hospital system—12 of these at Canberra and four at Calvary public.

There is a continuation of the significant increase in hospital beds by the Labor government since coming into power in 2002. The 16 beds will mean up to 29 new full-time equivalent positions comprising doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. There is also funding for two new intensive care beds to come online at Canberra Hospital worth $10.2 million for these beds and $1.4 million for six new hospital in the home bed equivalents across both hospitals.

This budget also provides for care in the right places with more outpatient, primary care and community services. These services will assist in limiting the growth in hospital-based services and provide care in the most appropriate environment for a person’s condition through greater integration of community, outpatient and primary care services. These include multidisciplinary clinics, increased medical staff for oncology services, the establishment of a central intake service, a new urgent ambulatory care service for specialist review and medical imaging, more subacute rehabilitation services, expansion of the pain management service, and non-government sector community and home-based care.

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