BY assistant Prof Bruce Baer Arnold
ANDREW Barr has announced health services and increased support for new and expecting Canberra mums and dads.
“This announcement will provide more services and support for parents when and where they are needed,” Andrew said.
“As part of our 10 year health plan we have already committed $150 million to expand the infrastructure and the services at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.
“Having a baby is a very exciting but we also know that it can be challenging time for new parents. This is why we are committed to expanding our perinatal service and to helping increase the support offered to new parents by Post and Ante Natal Depression Support and Information (PANDSI).
“PANDSI figures suggest that postnatal depression can affect up to 16 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men. Antenatal depression affects 10 per cent of women with onset at any time during pregnancy.
“We will commit $2 million to fund more clinicians to exist the existing perinatal mental health consultation liaison service from five to seven days a week.
“The service delivers mental health, treatment, assessment and care to women at risk or suffering from postnatal or perinatal depression or anxiety issues from conception to 12 months after giving birth.
“In addition to expanding our services we will also provide dollar for dollar funding for the annual PANDSI ‘cake off’ in addition to the core funding provided by ACT Health. Last May, the popular cake-off raised $20,000 and the 107 competitor spots were snapped up in 40 minutes.
“This popular event is expected to be bigger and better next year and into the future. It will continue to grow and we want to further encourage community donations by matching these commitments dollar for dollar up to $25,000 a year over the next four years.
“Today’s announcement is part of our 10 year plan for health. It covers five key pillars to deliver timely care, when and where people need it.
- Focusing on prevention – extending the Healthy Weight Initiative grants program and introducing a Preventive Health Coordinator to address growing rates of chronic diseases.
- Delivering infrastructure – including upgrades to the Calvary ED, an expansion of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, and building a state-of-art Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency Centre (SPIRE) at the Canberra Hospital.
- Increasing community based care – expanding Hospital in the Home and offering infrastructure grants for general practice to build bulk billing practices.
- Supporting our workforce – employing more clinicians across the health system.
- Investing in research and teaching – increasing health research funding and providing more clinical scholarships.