Page 1754 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2016

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In recent months I have been very pleased to join with my colleague, the assistant minister, Minister Fitzharris, to focus on the opening of the new emergency medicine unit space and the new dedicated paediatric streaming area for sick kids and their families. Right now refurbishment is occurring in a number of other areas.

Secondly, we are focusing on improving staffing capacity. As the government has announced in recent weeks, we are increasing the number of nurses and doctors at the emergency department. It is a very significant increase, a total of 54 staff over the next four years—doctors, nurses and allied health staff—to improve treatment capacity.

But the third and most significant reform of all is in terms of workplace flows and patient flows within the emergency department because so much of the effectiveness of emergency department care must be driven by how joined up care is within the ED and across the hospital as a whole. As a result of that, the government has commissioned detailed analysis that looks at how we can improve work flows and patient flows within the emergency department so that it operates efficiently and that more people are seen within the clinically indicated time frames. This has been now implemented through a range of measures including the establishment of new dedicated positions such as the emergency department navigator to improve the patient journey by making sure that staff are working together to join up different elements of care.

I am pleased to say that these reform efforts are achieving significant results. While reform is a long-term process, we are seeing encouraging indicators. For example, the trend data for April this year in the national emergency access target results shows that 69.6 per cent of people were seen within the NEAT targets, within that four-hour treatment time frame, compared with 58.3 per cent for the corresponding period last year.

That is a more than 10 per cent increase in timeliness—an improvement in timeliness—as a result of the reforms the government is putting in place. We are going to build on these reforms. We need to meet all of our NEAT targets, but we are well and truly on track now in terms of the direction we are heading. A 10 per cent increase in timeliness over the past 12 months, April period to April period, is a very encouraging outcome. Whilst there is still a lot of work to be done, I am very confident that we are on the right track. That means more Canberrans getting access to timely emergency department care. That has to be one of my key priorities as health minister.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hinder.

MR HINDER: Minister, can you outline some of the projects and initiatives that are in place as other reform measures to improve the ED performance and the hospital more broadly?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hinder for his supplementary. Yes, in addition to the reforms I have outlined, such as the establishment of the emergency department

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