Page 3541 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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therapy patients is commenced within national wait time standards. In the last full financial year the department achieved at or above targets for emergency patients, palliative patients and curative treatment patients.

The radiation oncology major equipment procurement project has supported expansion of radiation therapy services to meet ongoing increases in demand for cancer treatment. This expansion project was funded through both the ACT budget and the commonwealth and has enabled the purchase of a second computerised tomography simulator which was clinically operational in October 2011; a fourth linear accelerator with stereotactic capability which was clinically operational in January 2012; a replacement linear accelerator, operational in May 2012; and the upgrade of the ARIA oncology information system. The radiation oncology department has undertaken a number of clinical projects to assess and make improvements for the services provided, and the project for the rapid access clinic for palliative care patients was a finalist in the ACT allied health excellence awards last year.

The palliative radiotherapy rapid access clinic is a multidisciplinary radiotherapy clinic for bone and brain metastases patients. The clinic was established in 2013 to improve access for those palliative patients requiring urgent symptom relief. It also aimed to increase the coordination of palliative services provided and reduce the need to attend for radiation oncology. In addition to these important services, the Canberra Hospital Foundation and other initiatives like dry July have also helped improve the patient experience through their sourcing of donations to purchase 40 recliner chairs for oncology patients, a new blanket warmer, a scalp cooling system, an apheresis dry-cleaning machine and much, much more. Artworks have also been gifted to the centre to help create beautiful and uplifting spaces for patients, carers and families.

I can also advise that in November last year eight new cancer inpatient beds came online, and these beds provide additional capacity for oncology and haematology patients with a total of 44 beds within Canberra Hospital for the ongoing care of the oncology/haematology patient group.

A few months ago I visited the centre to mark its first birthday and I met a patient called Peter, a 41-year-old man receiving treatment in the centre. He told me his story of cancer and about the treatment he was receiving. I was delighted to know that he felt that the care he was receiving at the centre was outstanding. This centre has been established for hundreds of patients like Peter and their families and I am very pleased that it is a quality of service that patients themselves recognise as incredibly important and effective. I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing this matter of public importance to the Assembly this afternoon.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.10): As we all know, the territory’s health system, just like every other jurisdiction, is under increasing pressure. Just today the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released the health expenditure report for 2013-14. Total expenditure on health was estimated at $154.6 billion in 2013-14, up by 3.1 per cent on 2012-13 in real terms. Growth in expenditure per person was $6,639, which was $94 more in real terms than in 2012-13. To put that into some context, that equates to roughly 10 per cent of our national overall gross domestic product.

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