CHIEF Minister Katy Gallagher has expressed some satisfaction at improved statistics from Canberra’s emergency departments while expressing some concern at rising numbers of patients turning up seeking help.
“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report (AIHW) report shows that ACT emergency departments saw the highest percentage increase in presentation numbers with a 5.8% when compared against other jurisdictions, including Western Australia which saw a 1.5% decline,” Katy said.
“Despite this increasing demand the AIHW report shows that ACT public hospitals are continuing to improve in overall timeliness when it comes to emergency care.
“All triage categories have seen improvement with 61 percent of all patients being seen within benchmarked waiting times, a 10 percent improvement on the previous year.
“The report also shows that the ACT treated all category one and two patients, the most urgent cases, within benchmarked times.”
“With 14 months of substantial increases in presentations which is not showing any sign of decline, it is important that we seek to understand more thoroughly the reasons why ACT hospitals are seeing such big increases despite improved GP access, new models like the nurse led walk in centres and new services like the National Home Doctor Service,” the Chief Minister said.
“I have asked ACT Health to provide me with a report on what factors are leading to these substantial year-on-year increases.
Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson says he has the answers.
“After eight years as health minister it’s pretty disappointing that Katy Gallaher is so clueless about the reasons for pressure on our ED,” Jeremy said.
“An obvious factor is the nurse led walk in centre which was located at TCH during this period which ACT Health experts warned would lead to increased pressure on ED.
“A lack of other options, such as Urgent Care Clinics which were proposed by the Opposition at the last election along with the nation’s highest costs to visit a GP and lowest rates of bulk billing are also contributing.”