A report from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute has highlighted several flaws in the design, and day to day operations of the nurse-led walk-in centre.
The goal, as stated by the ACT Government was to reduce pressure on the emergency department at Canberra hospital.
Sadly, the research indicates it may have made things worse for the ED.
Jeremy Hanson appears to be super chuffed about this, according to this press release.
‘Substantial work has gone in to developing this innovative model of care which aims to reduce pressures on other services such as emergency departments.’ (Katy Gallagher, media release, 12 May 2010)
‘Contrary to this rationale, the location of the ACT walk-in centre actually resulted in a ‘net increase in ED activity.’ (Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, page 176, 17 July 2013)
An independent review has revealed that Canberra’s nurse-led walk-in centre is increasing pressure on our Emergency Department despite Katy Gallagher claiming the opposite, said ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson.
“What the report confirms is that the nurse-led walk in centre has in fact createdmore work for our ED not less. This increased pressure is one of the reasons that under ACT Labor, we now have the longest waiting times in Australia,” Mr Hanson said.
“The increased pressure on our ED may also have contributed to a senior ACT Health executive fabricating ED results on a massive scale to make them look better.
“The Canberra Liberals have repeatedly said that for a walk-in centre to work effectively it would have to include nurses and doctors and that the centre should not be located at the Hospital.
“Katy Gallagher has blamed doctors for this situation, but actually needs to take full responsibility for this latest failure in our health system, and for claiming it would take pressure off the ED despite all the evidence,” Mr Hanson concluded.
Katy has defended the centre, claiming that while not perfect it has still been successful.
“You measure a success like this on the number of feet coming in the door,” she said.
“In the last 18 months, almost two years, we’ve had 26,000 people use the walk-in centre, of which about 19,000 of those have been able to be treated and complete their care there.
“In that sense the practical rolling out of this program has been very successful even if the academics have some views about how it was done.”
[Katy Gallagher quote from ABC News]