ACT Budget: Further Expanding Health System Capacity

The ACT Government is continuing record investments in our public health system by expanding the Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), delivering a better Canberra Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and more emergency surgery capacity as we continue to invest in critical hospital services.

Completion of the physical expansion of the ICU is scheduled for late 2021 and will provide increased access to lifesaving care, acute medical treatment and intensive care monitoring as the Canberra region’s population continues to grow.

With the construction work almost complete, a further $28.4 million funding will be allocated to operationalise the additional four beds in the Intensive Care Unit in a staged way to 2023-24. This funding will see more staff supporting our sickest patients. The physical expansion of the ICU also provides further surge capacity, and we will not hesitate to open further beds should this be required as part of our response to COVID-19.

Several initiatives within the Emergency Department, totalling $22.9 million over four years, will mean Canberrans get improved access to care. Funding will support an expansion of the Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) to 18 treatment spaces, as well as the introduction of a new Acute Medical Unit (AMU) and increasing the health workforce.

The AMU will enable patients with multiple medical issues to be admitted more quickly and efficiently from the ED and have their care plans commenced by a multi-disciplinary team.

The funding also provides for a medical navigator, a highly skilled nurse who works with the senior medical team to ensure patients are cared for in the right ED location and to support the admission process and facilitate transfer to the right inpatient ward.

The ACT Government has also committed $39.0 million to deliver an additional 1,920 emergency surgery theatre hours per year and eight surgical beds to improve surgical outcomes for patients.

Over recent years, we’ve seen rapid growth in demand for emergency surgery. Increasing our funded emergency surgery capacity will improve timely care for Canberrans who need emergency care and reduce the need to postpone elective surgery.

Quotes attributable to Chief Minister, Andrew Barr

More beds in ICU are part of plans for the transition to the new Critical Services Building at Canberra Hospital, and will also help meet the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

The $90.3 million investment is part of the record investments the ACT Government is making in our health system.

Quotes attributable to Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith

The Emergency Department is the front door to Canberra Hospital and the team do an incredible job supporting people from the ACT and surrounding region when they need urgent care.

The initiatives funded through the Budget will drive improved performance, ensuring Canberrans continue to get access to the right care at the right time.

With the rapid growth in emergency surgery over recent years, the additional funding in this Budget will ensure we can meet that demand while also delivering life changing elective surgery.

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