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Mixed reaction to Libs’ plan for Gungahlin, Tuggeranong hospitals

By Charlotte Harper - 3 September 2016 34

Liberals' proposed Tuggeranong Local Hospital

The Canberra Liberals have promised to build new local public hospitals in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong if they win government next month, but ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher, a former ACT Health Minister and Chief Minister, has expressed concern at the prospect of “fragmenting” emergency services across Canberra.

The two new hospitals would have 24-hour emergency departments with ten beds each plus 12-bed short stay wards and would be staffed by specialist doctors and nurses, Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Health Jeremy Hanson said today.

“The Gungahlin Local Public Hospital and the Tuggeranong Local Public Hospital will provide more beds in more locations, alleviate the poor geographic spread of hospital beds in Canberra and help return the ACT’s health system to the best in the nation,” Mr Hanson said.

“At the moment some Gungahlin and Tuggeranong residents have to drive further for emergency hospital services than many residents in regional Australia.”

The Opposition Leader said the Gungahlin Local Public Hospital and the Tuggeranong Local Public Hospital would provide care coordination as well as pharmacy, pathology and imaging services.

“Our northernmost and southernmost regions need these hospitals and they’ll become even more important as our city grows,” Mr Hanson said, adding that the new hospitals were part of the Liberals’ broader plan for health, which included the party’s previously announced $395 million plan to redevelop The Canberra Hospital.

Liberals' proposed Gungahlin Local Hospital

ACT AMA president Steve Robinson told The Canberra Times he had reviewed the proposal yesterday and thought it was a “crackerjack idea”.

“We would definitely support this and we like the thinking behind it,” he told the newspaper.

But Senator Gallagher took to Facebook to warn of the risks associated with running additional emergency departments.

“I have stayed out of local politics since leaving the Chief Minister’s post 20mths ago but I have to say that I am astounded that the AMA would support this proposal,” Senator Gallagher wrote.

“I looked at a similar concept when I was Health Minister and all the advice including from the AMA & every ED doctor I spoke to (and it was a lot of them) told me of the danger to patients and staff of fragmenting emergency treatment across Canberra like this policy would.

“Functioning ED’s and day surgery centres need immediate access to operating theatres and intensive care/ high dependency care facilities & people needing emergency care need to be taken immediately to an acute hospital as soon as possible.”

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Mixed reaction to Libs’ plan for Gungahlin, Tuggeranong hospitals
1
gooterz 12:58 pm
03 Sep 16
#

Does that mean we need to put operating theaters in these new hospitals too?

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2
rommeldog56 2:06 pm
03 Sep 16
#

gooterz said :

Does that mean we need to put operating theaters in these new hospitals too?

Who knows. Probably not. Just another brain fart of an idea coming from ACT political parties in run up to ACT LA election in October. I wonder if anyone is keeping tabs on which party is offering what – and most importantly, the respective aggregate cost of those promises. Its going to be a mega expensive 5 weeks or so for ACT Ratepayers !

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3
Mordd / Chris Richar 7:37 pm
03 Sep 16
#

“At the moment some Gungahlin and Tuggeranong residents have to drive further for emergency hospital services than many residents in regional Australia.”

That statement is just rubbish. Many regional residents face a 1-8+ hour drive for different hospital services, depending on what is required. At most Belco or Tuggers people have maybe a 15 minute drive at best to get to the current nearest hospital. Talk about massive exaggeration and spin from the ACT Liberals. No different to Federal Labor mediscare there.

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4
Raging Tempest 8:03 am
04 Sep 16
#

You have no idea mordd. It’s nearly 15 mins from Gowrie to Canberra hospital in reasonable traffic, significantly longer if you’re in the wilds of lanyon.

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5
wildturkeycanoe 12:49 pm
04 Sep 16
#

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

At most Belco or Tuggers people have maybe a 15 minute drive at best to get to the current nearest hospital.

Whilst going in the opposite direction to the peak flow of traffic in the afternoon, it once took me more than 30 minutes to go from west belconnen to the Calvary hospital. If you aren’t being dropped off to emergency but drive yourself or are taking kids like I was, you then have the walk all the way from the multi-storey carpark to the ED, which ads probably another 10 minutes depending on what your ailment is. You can’t just leave your car outside the ED because there are seldom any vacant parks whatsoever. So, for moderately serious emergencies, DIY is much more time consuming than calling an ambulance, but you don’t want to tie up paramedics with a non-life threatening condition either. Gungahlin to Calvary in peak traffic would easily be a 30 minute plus trip, likewise from the southern end of ACT to Canberra hospital. I can see the need for a walk in centre style hospital for both ends of town and would be happy to see my rates going towards that than a useless transport system that not make any improvements to transit times from what they are now. They have definitely confirmed my vote in October.

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6
Garfield 3:51 pm
04 Sep 16
#

How does this get titled “mixed reaction” when the only public comment mentioned in opposition to the plan is from ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher, who as health minister presided over increased waiting times and a data scandal? On that basis every policy released by a major party would be to a mixed reaction when their opponents come out against it.

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7
JC 6:06 pm
04 Sep 16
#

Raging Tempest said :

You have no idea mordd. It’s nearly 15 mins from Gowrie to Canberra hospital in reasonable traffic, significantly longer if you’re in the wilds of lanyon.

Think you will find he was quoting the Liberal party statement that the Canberra hospitals are further away than many rural locations. So think you mean the Liberal Party has not idea.

Anyway this is just silly. As anyone who has been to Calvery knows even that hospital offers very limited services so if you are in a bad bad way they take you to Woden anyway. For the cost quoted these ‘hospital’s’ will be even more basic in way of services than Calvery, so what is the point? They will be just glorified triage units.

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8
Mordd / Chris Richar 10:37 pm
04 Sep 16
#

JC said :

Raging Tempest said :

You have no idea mordd. It’s nearly 15 mins from Gowrie to Canberra hospital in reasonable traffic, significantly longer if you’re in the wilds of lanyon.

Think you will find he was quoting the Liberal party statement that the Canberra hospitals are further away than many rural locations. So think you mean the Liberal Party has not idea.

Anyway this is just silly. As anyone who has been to Calvery knows even that hospital offers very limited services so if you are in a bad bad way they take you to Woden anyway. For the cost quoted these ‘hospital’s’ will be even more basic in way of services than Calvery, so what is the point? They will be just glorified triage units.

Even allowing for 30 mins to get to Woden or Calvary hospital from the outer points, that’s still way better than what most regional residents deal with, which is the whole point I was making. Even if Lanyon residents might take 45 mins to get to Woden, that still doesn’t compare to the 2, 3, 4+ hours many regional residents have to drive to get to their nearest hospital. I am sorry my 15 mins was probably a bit exaggerated, that’s my bad, but that’s missing the main point as JC points out.

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9
creative_canberran 6:24 pm
05 Sep 16
#

It’s a strange idea that will end up before the Coroner I bet.

For people talking about travel times to the ED, I don’t get your point. If you have a medical issue that urgently requires the ED, then you call an ambulance. You know those big things with flashing lights that can speed and go through intersection when you can’t. Even with an ED at Tuggeranong, if you try to make it there yourself for a cardiac arrest, you’ll only have a slim chance of survival, versus an ambulance going to you.

If your issues isn’t that severe, then you have the walk in clinics, CALMS, your GP, or you can go to the ED where triage will dictate you wait at least an hour anyway to see anyone.

gooterz said :

Does that mean we need to put operating theaters in these new hospitals too?

Unless these local EDs have their own imaging departments, operating theatres and specialist paediatric gear, then you’ll have patients being bussed all over town. Or you’ll have ambulances taking patients to the little EDs when they really need the big ones. It’s going to be a mess that divides resources and causes confusion.

Basically this policy exists for two reasons. One is the Liberals platform for this election is all about health, so merit or not, affordable or not, they’ll announce health policies. Secondly the Liberals have always been against the walk-in centres, opening these mini-EDs will create doctors jobs which the AMA wants, and will close down he walk-in centres.

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10
Mordd / Chris Richar 9:48 pm
05 Sep 16
#

creative_canberran said :

It’s a strange idea that will end up before the Coroner I bet.

For people talking about travel times to the ED, I don’t get your point. If you have a medical issue that urgently requires the ED, then you call an ambulance. You know those big things with flashing lights that can speed and go through intersection when you can’t. Even with an ED at Tuggeranong, if you try to make it there yourself for a cardiac arrest, you’ll only have a slim chance of survival, versus an ambulance going to you.

If your issues isn’t that severe, then you have the walk in clinics, CALMS, your GP, or you can go to the ED where triage will dictate you wait at least an hour anyway to see anyone.

gooterz said :

Does that mean we need to put operating theaters in these new hospitals too?

Unless these local EDs have their own imaging departments, operating theatres and specialist paediatric gear, then you’ll have patients being bussed all over town. Or you’ll have ambulances taking patients to the little EDs when they really need the big ones. It’s going to be a mess that divides resources and causes confusion.

Basically this policy exists for two reasons. One is the Liberals platform for this election is all about health, so merit or not, affordable or not, they’ll announce health policies. Secondly the Liberals have always been against the walk-in centres, opening these mini-EDs will create doctors jobs which the AMA wants, and will close down he walk-in centres.

Far too much truth and common sense in this ^ post. It didn’t occur to me though, the Libs will shut down the nurse walk in clinics with this won’t they? That would be really bad, they have taken a lot of pressure of the existing E.D’s, getting rid of them would not be smart at all. 🙁

Report this comment

11
Garfield 7:41 am
06 Sep 16
#

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s a strange idea that will end up before the Coroner I bet.

For people talking about travel times to the ED, I don’t get your point. If you have a medical issue that urgently requires the ED, then you call an ambulance. You know those big things with flashing lights that can speed and go through intersection when you can’t. Even with an ED at Tuggeranong, if you try to make it there yourself for a cardiac arrest, you’ll only have a slim chance of survival, versus an ambulance going to you.

If your issues isn’t that severe, then you have the walk in clinics, CALMS, your GP, or you can go to the ED where triage will dictate you wait at least an hour anyway to see anyone.

gooterz said :

Does that mean we need to put operating theaters in these new hospitals too?

Unless these local EDs have their own imaging departments, operating theatres and specialist paediatric gear, then you’ll have patients being bussed all over town. Or you’ll have ambulances taking patients to the little EDs when they really need the big ones. It’s going to be a mess that divides resources and causes confusion.

Basically this policy exists for two reasons. One is the Liberals platform for this election is all about health, so merit or not, affordable or not, they’ll announce health policies. Secondly the Liberals have always been against the walk-in centres, opening these mini-EDs will create doctors jobs which the AMA wants, and will close down he walk-in centres.

Far too much truth and common sense in this ^ post. It didn’t occur to me though, the Libs will shut down the nurse walk in clinics with this won’t they? That would be really bad, they have taken a lot of pressure of the existing E.D’s, getting rid of them would not be smart at all. 🙁

So nurse led walk in clinics take pressure off the Canberra Hospital ED, but having small ED’s in their place with doctors in addition to nurses will add pressure to it? Think about it. It has to be the case that we receive better health care when doctors and nurses work together, not when they work separately.

There are currently people turning up at the nurse led clinics who have to be moved on to the ED because there are no doctors there. That’s why the Woden walk in clinic closed, because it had to refer so many people to the ED that it was increasing pressure on the system. Having the small ED’s will mean more people can be treated away from Woden, meaning less pressure on the primary ED.

As for people dying due to “confusion”, as alleged by Gallagher, the paramedics will know where to take different types of emergency patients and even if someone turns up at their local ED, they will have immediate care that’s greater than can be provided by an ambulance and they will have it sooner. Thus its more likely these new hospitals will save rather than cost lives. Calvary doesn’t provide the full range of hospital services so there are currently patients that need to be moved from there to Woden, just as will happen with some patients with these new hospitals. The key thing is that more people will be treated away from the main hospital, freeing it up to get to the more urgent cases faster.

Also, from a quick chat with a Liberal candidate on the weekend, I don’t think that the Belconnen walk in clinic will close, so the Gungahlin hospital will be in addition to Calvary and the walk in clinic on the north side.

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12
pink little birdie 9:35 am
06 Sep 16
#

So basically these new places would look like a slightly better version of the the primary health centres in Woden and Belconnen making them 24 hours as well. They have imaging and nurses as well as Dr’s. There is a large chunk of late night medicine that is “I need medical attention but it’s not an emergency”
Last time I tried for CALMS I still ended up waiting 2 hours after my appointment time to see the Dr and the next door Calvery emergency (literally 10 metres away) would have been faster.

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13
rommeldog56 2:20 pm
06 Sep 16
#

pink little birdie said :

There is a large chunk of late night medicine that is “I need medical attention but it’s not an emergency”
Last time I tried for CALMS I still ended up waiting 2 hours after my appointment time to see the Dr and the next door Calvery emergency (literally 10 metres away) would have been faster.

So, why would even consider going to the Emergency Department if u can be seen by a Doctor elsewhere. Thats one of the problems with Canberra’s EDs. Any initiative that can take the load off EDs is good, depending on cost of course.

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14
pink little birdie 7:52 pm
06 Sep 16
#

rommeldog56 said :

pink little birdie said :

There is a large chunk of late night medicine that is “I need medical attention but it’s not an emergency”
Last time I tried for CALMS I still ended up waiting 2 hours after my appointment time to see the Dr and the next door Calvery emergency (literally 10 metres away) would have been faster.

So, why would even consider going to the Emergency Department if u can be seen by a Doctor elsewhere. Thats one of the problems with Canberra’s EDs.

Any initiative that can take the load off EDs is good, depending on cost of course.

I didn’t I went to CALMS (Canberra After Hours Locum Medical Service) Emergency is for Emergencies. However at the time the CALMS in Belconnen was at Calvery Hospital using the same entrance as the emergency (emergency on the left CALMS on the right) I kept my CALMS appointment but the emergency room was very empty because it was the middle of the night and Calvery is less busy in the middle of the night. CALMS was still running very late I could have been in bed as opposed to lying on the chair there for 2 hours.

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15
ungruntled 10:29 pm
07 Sep 16
#

“No different to Federal Labor mediscare there.”

Mordd, you have to be joking. Mediscare? Really?
Have you read ANY Australian history over the last 45 years?
The scary part of what was being said about the dismantelling of Medicare was that it was true.
Whether you believe in government provided medical care to the general populace or not, the attack on its provision is historical fact.

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