10-Year Health Plan will deliver better care when you need it

Whether it’s for a routine check-up, a sudden broken bone, a muchanticipated birth or a chronic illness, the ACT Government is committed to delivering better care when you need it.

That’s why we went to the last election with a 10-Year Health Plan to renew our local hospitals and health facilities so they can deliver care in ways that are easy for everyone to access.

The 2017 Budget kicks off that plan with new investment across community, primary and specialist care. Our $443 million new investment through this Budget builds on the $1.6 billion the ACT Government already invests in healthcare and wellbeing for Canberrans each year.

A growing population will place greater demand on our hospital system. We are investing now to prepare for the future.

Better health infrastructure

The Budget delivers a major new investment in health infrastructure, including $236 million over four years to plan, design, and begin construction of the Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre in Garran. SPIRE will boost the number of operating theatres from 13 to 20, providing more capacity and allowing for concurrent management of emergency and elective surgeries, avoiding delays and rescheduling.

The Budget will also invest almost $70 million in expanding the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to include a new child and adolescent mental health unit, an adolescent gynaecology service, a new paediatric highdependency unit, and paediatric intensive care beds. The first phase of funding includes feasibility and planning work to inform construction commencement in 2018–19.

We are strengthening our commitment to the University of Canberra Public Hospital (UCPH) by delivering $16.1 million to ensure it is open and ready to care for patients from 2018. UCPH will provide best practice sub-acute aged care and rehabilitation services on Canberra’s Northside.

The Budget also delivers $17.3 million for significant upgrades to acute aged care and cancer facilities at the Canberra Hospital to provide better patient care and comfort.

Better care in the community

Providing better health care is a crucial part of the ACT Government’s commitment to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. This Budget provides $12.1 million to build a new primary health care centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans in the Inner South.

There were over 36,000 presentations for assistance with minor injury or illness to nurse-led Walk in Centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen in 2016. This Budget delivers $14 million over five years to start work on a new nurse-led Walk in Centre in Gungahlin and planning for another one in the Weston Creek region, as well as a new Inner North health centre.

For most Canberrans, the most important health contact is the family doctor. In recent years the ACT’s bulk-billing rate has improved but it’s still significantly lower than the national average. The Budget provides $1.05 million for new grants to incentivise more bulk-billing services in Canberra’s south.

The Budget also introduces a new annual health and wellbeing check for Year 7 students, with $2.7 million to support the roll-out in the 2018 school year. These checks will help identify students at risk of developing mental health issues and chronic disease, so that they can receive targeted preventative treatment.

Canberrans will benefit from better dental care in the community with $3.2 million for two additional mobile dental vans to provide treatment closer to home for those that need it, and particularly to deliver services to hard-to-reach communities.

Prevention

Great hospitals and health facilities matter, but our primary goal is to keep Canberrans healthy through better preventative, primary and community care.

The Budget will deliver a new territory-wide preventative health strategy backed with $4 million in new resources aimed at helping us all live longer, healthier lives.

Additional community and preventative health initiatives include:

$732,000 free whopping cough vaccinations for expecting mums

Better Mental health

With this Budget, the ACT Government is investing more strategically to promote better mental health for Canberrans.

Targeted mental health services will benefit from a $5.3 million boost to support pregnant women, new mothers, children, adolescents and older people. We will also deliver $1.8 million to address the important challenge of suicide prevention by working with partners including the Black Dog Institute and the Wayback Program.

The Government will enhance services for people with complex mental health needs by expanding the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit. Our $13.8 million investment will deliver new rehabilitation beds in the secure mental health unit.

These investments will be overseen by a new Office for Mental Health that will work to improve the coordination
of services and close gaps in the system.

Supporting our Health workforce

The ACT Government recognises the crucial role played by our health workforce in delivering better care for Canberrans. We will invest in more frontline staff, better training and establishing a new clinical school to train local health professionals.

These workforce initiatives will include:

$36 million to employ more graduate nurses and nurse navigators and boost the Nursing and Midwifery Scholarships Fund

The ACT Government’s 10-Year Health Plan will ensure local health care delivery not only keeps up as Canberra grows, but keeps getting even better.