Page 4849 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 27 November 2018

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MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how do walk-in centres work with other health services across the territory?

MS FITZHARRIS: Walk-in centres play an important role in Canberra’s primary healthcare network. They play a valuable role particularly after hours and for those who want free, local, easily accessible health care.

Nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses at walk-in centres regularly interact with other health services. Where required, they refer patients to the emergency department or to a local GP, and will provide reports to the patient’s GP where the patient has consented to this.

Walk-in centres work closely with a range of services across Canberra to make sure that we provide easy pathways to effective health treatments. For example, walk-in centres have worked successfully with the fracture clinic, the ophthalmology clinic and both X-ray departments in ACT public hospitals. The Gungahlin walk-in centre has also been working hard, since opening and before, to develop relationships with GPs in the region.

The Canberra Sexual Health Centre recently piloted a successful program for sexual health screening in the evenings and will look for opportunities to provide more support with sexual health services and contact tracing. They are also currently developing a dental pain pathway so that patients can be assessed and provided with interim treatment.

An experienced and highly skilled physiotherapist is commencing a trial in the Belconnen walk-in centre this week to treat patients with musculoskeletal injuries. If this trial is successful, it may be considered for further rollout across all of our walk-in centres.

MS ORR: Minister, how have nurse-led walk-in centres been received by the community?

MS FITZHARRIS: We have had a very positive response to the walk-in centres and regularly receive compliments from the community on both the availability of the walk-in centres and also the care and professionalism of the staff. I certainly know that for Gungahlin the 3,674 people who have accessed the services in just two months are a demonstration of just how well received they are by our community.

Our research shows that 86 per cent of Canberrans were satisfied with the service they received at our walk-in centres. For example, in just the past week, a parent has written on social media: “Outstanding patient care! Can’t speak highly enough of our experience with my son.” Another said: “… we’ve used this service and cannot fault it. Staff are great with a caring attitude … Don’t clog up the ED’s and opt for this service first.”

Madam Speaker, contrast this with the attitude of those opposite towards walk-in centres. The opposition have labelled them “a criminal waste of taxpayers’ money”

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