Aug 2018

ACT Budget 2018: Canberra Hospital to Get $112 Million Following String of Issues

Published in General on August 27, 2018

In June, the ACT Government added $112 million to the budget allocated for “core hospital services.” This is in response to Canberra Hospital’s well-published troubles and is intended to add at least 12 doctors, 60 nurses and perhaps up to 80 patient beds over the coming years. The core services in need of an influx of cash include the intensive care unit, the emergency department and the surgeries.

According to Health Minister Fitzharris, “This investment will give greater flexibility… to put more resources into emergency and critical care, more surgeries and more beds.” In recent times, the Health Minister has faced an extreme amount of criticism over wait times which are lengthy at the emergency department of Canberra Hospital and figures show that fewer than half of patients seen are seen on time. This is due to the freedom of information laws allowing public transparency of records.

She further states that “This will enable ACT Health to plan for the delivery of 14,000 elective surgeries, an additional 1,000 surgeries every year.” In reference to the additional beds she says that the bed capability is flexible based on demand. “For example, 72 more beds [will be] available in 2018 winter season, almost double the number last year.”

In her words, “The ACT is now the healthcare hub for a region of over 1 million people, and that calls for a sustainable step in our investment in frontline staff and health services.”

Opposition: Funding is not a magic bullet

According to Vicki Dunne, a spokesperson for the opposition, “We need to be able to have measures to show that this money is actually working for the people of ACT.” Although she happily embraces the extra funding, she says that Government still needs to be held accountable.

“There’s no point in just throwing money at the problem. The Government has been doing that for a very long time.” She also called into question the ability of Government to be able to recruit the extra staff needed due to allegations of bullying at Canberra Hospital. In regard to this issue, she ended by saying that “We will always have trouble to recruit new staff while ever we have a toxic culture at the hospital.”