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Labor announces $650 million towards health

HerCanberra Team

Labor has come out swinging as Canberra edges towards the pointy end of lead up to the ACT Election, announcing a $650 million investment in health services.

A statement issued this morning outlines plans for a re-elected Labor Government to build a new Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre on the Canberra Hospital campus, with a new Emergency Department, elective and day surgical spaces, and more than 1,200 medical, nursing, allied health and support staff.

Labor says it will also boost health services for families across Canberra with a major investment to grow the capacity of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and fund new staff and services including:

  • More than 107 additional medical professionals, including nurses and doctors, to continue to support families and deliver healthy Canberra babies.
  • A new elective child and adolescent orthopaedic service.
  • A new specialised adolescent gynaecology service to reduce the need for young women and girls to travel to Sydney for treatment.
  • A new 12-bed child and adolescent mental health unit to be purpose-built and attached to Centenary Hospital.
  • 12 new paediatric high-dependency units and four paediatric intensive care beds.

The SPIRE Centre is planned to begin operating around 2022, expanding the Canberra Hospital’s theatre capacity from 13 to 20 theatres and offering:

  • Enhanced, state-of-the-art surgical, procedural, critical care and imaging facilities.
  • Two inpatient wards with 64 beds for patients requiring overnight care.
  • Dedicated theatres for emergency surgery and elective surgery.
  • A new coronary care unit for people requiring high level care for heart conditions with 24 beds.
  • A new intensive care unit with 48 bed bays, offering both high dependency and intensive care beds. This will include beds dedicated to paediatric care.
  • A new day surgery centre with seven procedure rooms designed for patients who can be admitted and discharged within 24 hours.

A new expanded general Emergency Department adjacent to the SPIRE Centre would allow for the current ED to be dedicated to women and children with specialist staff. The two EDs would operate as one, but with separate entrances.

Two family violence risk assessment suites would also be built to provide care for women and children who have been victims of violence.

Additionally, Labor has pledged to create a new Family Assistance Fund to provide financial support for parents to be with their child when visiting hospitals interstate. This will assist families for example who may have a child with cancer and who need to travel to Sydney to access specialist treatment.

The Canberra Liberals recently announced their intention to build two 22-bed facilities in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong, part of a broader plan for health which includes $395 million for the redevelopment of the Canberra Hospital.

Each facility would contain a 24-hour emergency department and a short-stay bed ward as well as pharmacy, pathology and imaging services.

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