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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 August 2015) . . Page.. 2838 ..

The budget also provides more support for women and children’s services, with the opening of six new beds at the Canberra Mothercraft Society Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre. This centre provides invaluable services for families who are experiencing complex health and behavioural difficulties in the first three years of an infant’s life. Canberra Hospital will also expand outpatient services to cater for increasing birth rates and paediatric demand. Women and children’s services provided by the non-government sector will also be increased to assist the flow of patients out of the hospital sector into more appropriate community settings.

There is more money for elective surgeries. Elective surgery waiting times continue to be a focus for the government and this year’s budget will provide a further increase in the number of elective procedures undertaken. $14.8 million over two years will be provided for an extra 500 elective surgeries, taking the total to 12,500 a year. This means that numbers of elective surgery to be performed in this financial year will be at record levels. The additional 500 elective surgery procedures are scheduled in this coming financial year, with the major focus being within the specialties of orthopaedics and ear, nose and throat surgery.

Funding has also been provided for an additional 500 endoscopy procedures and to continue a bariatric surgery program aligned with the new obesity management service which incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to lifestyle and dietary changes to improve the health of obese people.

Within this budget there is funding to supplement existing palliative care services within the ACT and surrounding region. The funding builds the non-hospital capacity of palliative care services in consultation with specialist palliative care community services, local GPs and community nurses. This includes in-home services designed to keep people in their own homes for longer and in many cases supports end-of-life care at home.

More access to drug and alcohol services is also a priority in this budget. We know that demand for ACT drug treatment services has been increasing. The 2014 commonwealth review of the drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services sector highlighted a significant under-investment in alcohol and other drug treatment, relative to population prevalence. The ACT alcohol, tobacco and other drug strategy notes the significant changing trends in the patterns of use of crystal methamphetamine, or ice as it is known, in the ACT and is guided by the principles of harm minimisation, the social and cultural determinants of health and minimising the burdens of harm.

The government will be investing additional resources to increase the non-government sector’s capacity to treat these patients and also to roll out the naloxone overdose management pilot program. This program has already proved successful in delivering timely interventions and is proving a lifesaving asset in the challenging battle against an insidious and dangerous drug.

I am very pleased to say that this budget sees the largest single year increase in funding for mental health services since this government was first elected—

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