Page 405 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020

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MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the supplementary question. The service that has been provided under the tenants advisory service contract, as members would be aware, has now been awarded to Legal Aid as the successful tenderer. The details of that contract are under negotiation at the moment, so it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on what may or may not be in that particular contract at this stage.

MR PARTON: Attorney, how did the government manage any conflicts of interest, or perceived conflicts of interest, involving key players in the tender process and the subsequent awarding of that contract to Legal Aid?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Parton for the question. Transparency is obviously an important part of that. In terms of the procurement process and the potential conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest, they are managed under longstanding government procurement guidelines and longstanding procurement processes which apply across all portfolios.

Canberra Health Services—service improvements

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, will the government’s midyear cash injection into the ACT’s health system result in improved emergency department waiting times by the end of 2019-20?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Mrs Dunne, that is not what this is in relation to. We are looking at the fact that we have seen increased activity over the past six months in relation to the emergency department. There is of course a range of measures in place that we have talked about many times in this place which respond to the need for improved emergency department wait times. I have acknowledged—and last Wednesday, I believe, I was asked a number of questions about this, as well as many times publicly—that emergency department wait times are not where we want them to be and not where we know that Canberrans expect them to be.

But we have already made some significant investments to expand emergency department capability and treatment spaces across the system. That includes an additional two senior staff specialists for Canberra Hospital’s ED; 12 additional medical beds at Canberra Hospital to reduce the bed block that can add to ED wait times; a major ED expansion at Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce, which is due for completion in March this year and which will deliver 50 per cent more emergency department treatment spaces at Calvary; and a 20 per cent increase in emergency department capacity across the system, in addition to investments in programs that are designed to keep people safe at home and reduce the impact on emergency, such as the GRACE program.

Canberra Hospital itself is undertaking a range of strategies, including the timely care strategies that Mrs Dunne was briefed on last year, and specific strategies in relation to supporting some of the improved wait times that we want to see in the emergency department. That includes a multi-disciplinary approach to initial assessment and treatment commencing, ensuring that all patients commence care as soon as possible. That includes earlier physician engagement in the care provided as well as expanded nurse protocols to ensure that people are getting that initiation of care in a timely way.

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