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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1640 ..

I also want to echo what the AMA said about ED wait times on ABC radio last week: one of the challenges is people presenting to our EDs that perhaps have preventable or chronic conditions that could be better managed by GPs or in primary health care. It is important for chronic conditions to be managed appropriately in the primary care setting before people get so unwell that they need to present to the ED. This also highlights the need for a national focus on prevention, which is also a priority for me as minister. As I also mentioned yesterday, it is concerning that we continue to also see more presentations of category 3 patients to our emergency departments—again going to demographic change in our community and again a trend reflected across the country.

To improve elective surgery wait times the government has had a deliberate focus on reducing the number of patients who are waiting longer than clinically recommended for their surgery. And to help provide more elective surgeries the government has invested additional funding in this financial year which will see more Canberrans receive elective surgery.

I would note, as I mentioned yesterday, it is also important to consider all health settings and managing people’s health and wellbeing in all settings. The hospital is of course important but we are seeing a real focus around the world and around Australia on making sure that people can get care closer to home.

In the remaining 19 seconds I also want to speak to data. I look forward later this week to tabling a statement on the outcomes of the data review and making it clear that my focus is on providing more transparent information to consumers, clinicians and the broader ACT community.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (10.37): The Greens will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s motion today because, as I said yesterday, I do not believe it presents a full and accurate picture of the work the government is doing to improve health services in the ACT. There is no doubt that there are areas of our health system that are under stress and can be improved, particularly as our city continues to grow and demand for health services increases. Mrs Dunne took the opportunity to prosecute many of these matters in yesterday’s motion but I am happy to expand on the comments I made yesterday in response to some of these issues in more detail. She herself has flagged a greater level of detail today.

On the issue of the ACT Health accreditation process, as I said yesterday some of the results from the survey were both disappointing and concerning, particularly a number of specific items relating to patient safety in mental health inpatient units. I have asked ACT Health to respond to these issues as a matter of urgency and I am being regularly briefed on the progress of work which is already underway. The key issues for mental health are infrastructure works to remove ligature points in the adult mental health unit, commissioning of an independent review of all Canberra Hospital and health services inpatient mental health facilities, and establishing a review advisory body to oversee the review and action any recommendations that come out of it.

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