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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 827 ..

MS FITZHARRIS: It was a pleasure last year in the budget to announce that we are expanding the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to cater for the growing need for maternity services, including expanding the number of maternity beds as birth numbers grow. The expansion will also include a new adolescent mental health unit and an adolescent gynaecology service to support younger women.

To further show our commitment to maternity care, I was delighted recently to announce a $2.6 million upgrade to maternity services at Calvary hospital, which also provides specialised gynaecological and breast surgery services for women in the ACT. The ACT government has also invested in providing greater choice for birthing options in the ACT, with a three-year home birth trial underway now for 18 months. The government is also currently reviewing the barriers women may face when accessing abortion services in Canberra.

I regularly receive positive feedback from women about our walk-in centres. Just last month we started a trial of the provision of additional sexual health outreach clinics for people at higher risk of sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses in Tuggeranong and Belconnen walk-in centres. We look forward to continuing this service when the new Gungahlin walk-in centre opens later this year.

MS CODY: Minister, why is the commitment to improving women’s health so important?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Cody for the supplementary question. Women are obviously a vital part of our community and women have diverse health needs. ACT Health continues to design new ways to meet women’s needs so that they can continue to lead fulfilling lives and access health care when they need it.

Through our territory-wide health planning, we are using an individualised approach to drive new ways to deliver health care. This patient-centred approach is a more holistic one that will deliver better overall health outcomes including for women so that they can return to a fuller life after accessing healthcare services.

We know that women have specific health needs and place great value on the needs of their families and their community. Women are often their families’ lead decision-makers in health-related matters. The ACT government knows that we need to provide a range of ways to access services, including care in the hospital, care in the community and care in the home.

This is why we have made more care more accessible through the Centenary hospital and its expansion, why we are upgrading maternity facilities at Calvary, why we have community-based walk-in centres and why we have promised to expand the successful hospital-in-the-home program. Individuals, including women, can leave hospital sooner and get back home to heal with their families more quickly.

ACT Health—SPIRE project

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, following numerous statements in 2016 that the Labor Party would not rebuild the

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