The emergency department at The Canberra Hospital will gain an extra 39 staff in 2016-17 and a further 15 workers by the end of the 2019-20 financial year as part of a $29 million commitment in next week’s ACT Budget.
A spend of $3.8 million in the 2016-17 financial year will fund four new doctors, 24 new nurses, 10 new allied health workers and one new administrative position for the ED. The remaining $25.2 million will fund those positions and those of the 15 additional hires in the three years that follow.
The recruitment process will begin shortly and continue in line with the rollout of the emergency department expansion.
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A $23 million expansion of the emergency department was first announced in 2014 with the first stage delivered in February this year. Overall the expansion delivers an extra 1000 square metres of floor space, a 30 per cent increase in treatment spaces within new and refurbished areas and three more ambulance bays.
Minister for Health Simon Corbell said the government had taken a three-tiered approach to improving waiting times and hospital performance by focusing on infrastructure, staffing and reforms.
“These additional staff will be an essential boost to the capability of our emergency department and will go a long way toward improving the timeliness of care provided at Canberra Hospital, particularly in emergency,” Mr Corbell said.
“Earlier this year we began a process of reform in the Canberra Hospital emergency department that is improving the efficiency and access to public health services and allows our committed doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to continue to deliver high quality care in a way that allows them to meet national targets for timeliness.
“The Canberra Hospital emergency department has seen growth in demand of around 20% over the last two to three years, and we need to manage and meet that demand, so extra beds and extra doctors and nurses is the Government’s priority.”
The Government would focus efforts on making sure that bed management was improved in the hospital, so that people could move through to the beds that they need in a timely way, Mr Corbell said.
“The reform agenda has identified that there are sufficient beds inside The Canberra Hospital at the moment. The key issue is central coordination, and that’s why we’ve established the central bed management unit, it’s why we’re focused on improving communication between the wards and the emergency department through the new roles such as the ED navigator and others.”