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On the Liberals, walk-in centres, and excrement flung with gay abandon

By johnboy 12 July 2012 26

Normally we try to shield you dear readers from the poo-flinging of our political class and focus on things that have concrete meaning.

But the wierd permutations of this story are worth having a look at.

It started out with the Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson drawing a long bow to take advise offered to the Chief Minister and turn it into a claim of misleading the public on election promises.

Information obtained by the Canberra Liberals shows Katy Gallagher’s one and only election commitment to build another walk in centre flies in the face of Health Directorate advice that the centres would make Emergency Department performance worse. ACT Shadow Health Minister Jeremy Hanson said today a Freedom of Information request shows the Health Directorate warned that walk in centres would increase pressure on the already stretched Emergency Department.

The issue here is that the Walk-In centre brings punters to the hospital precinct at which point professional opinion realises they should really be in the emergency department. This is not good for ED statistics, but overall is probably good for health outcomes, which is rather the point of the whole sodding exercise.

The Canberra Times took this and proclaimed “Liberals would ‘probably’ scrap walk-in clinic if elected”

When you have to put your probably in air quotes we’re a long way from a decision.

This then became a confirmed decision in the hand of Labor hacks (handsome, witty hacks no doubt):

Watching this informational train wreck unfold I went back to the Liberals to ask them what their actual policy was.

Of course I got a non answer:

The walk in centre at Canberra Hospital hasn’t achieved what Katy Gallagher said it would, which is reducing pressure on the emergency department. Jeremy agrees with Katy Gallagher that it shouldn’t be at the Hospital. Our health policy will be released well before the election. It will be evidence-based, and unlike Katy Gallagher, we’ll be truthful about its benefits.

The monkeys at the zoo really would be better behaved and possibly more enlightening.

UPDATE 12/07/12 15:46: Victor has been in touch to point out his tweet was based on Radio 2CC’s reporting.


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26 Responses to
On the Liberals, walk-in centres, and excrement flung with gay abandon
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bundah 10:43 am 15 Jul 12

Jethro said :

johnboy said :

If you’re talking about the commonwealth funding arrangements they’re a desperate effort to stop the state level thieves defunding their hospitals entirely.

It’s an ACT responsibility, commonwealth money is not a right.

States/territories cannot fund healthcare on their own. Every state/territory’s healthcare department would collapse without Commonwleath funding.

Any sort of healthcare system that relies on creating incentives through the removal of funding is a bit dodgy in my books.

It would be interesting to see the statistics re commonwealth funding pre and post creation of ACT govt and then comparing that to what the other states and territories received for the same period.That way we’d have a much clearer picture as to whether we’ve been given a fair slice of the pie over time.Naturally this in no way excuses poor budgetary decisions and stuff ups made during this period.

dungfungus 9:17 pm 14 Jul 12

Thumper said :

johnboy said :

Or provide more resources to the ED if that’s where the people needing medical attention are turning up.

Radical concept I know.

Whooahh.. Settle down there son, let’s not get carried away here.

Or, as someone said recently “don’t contaminate the issue with some common sense”

Jethro 8:41 pm 14 Jul 12

johnboy said :

If you’re talking about the commonwealth funding arrangements they’re a desperate effort to stop the state level thieves defunding their hospitals entirely.

It’s an ACT responsibility, commonwealth money is not a right.

States/territories cannot fund healthcare on their own. Every state/territory’s healthcare department would collapse without Commonwleath funding.

Any sort of healthcare system that relies on creating incentives through the removal of funding is a bit dodgy in my books.

snoopydoc 8:04 pm 14 Jul 12

The walk-in centre does not reduce the number of ED presentations.

Logical speculation suggests that locating two large walk-in centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen respectively will place them in closer proximity to the population likely to need/want to use them. It is further speculated that siting the walk-in clinics away from the hospital campus might reduce the number of people who follow the “WIC can’t do what I need, therefore I will walk 50 metres to the ED” pathway instead of the “WIC can’t do what I need, therefore I will arrange a GP appointment” option.

We don’t know if putting WIC’s away from the hospital will reduce ED presentations because we haven’t tried it yet. We do know that the WIC at the hospital does _not_ reduce ED presentations.

ED overcrowding and very long waiting times are also not due to the number of walk-in patients with minor or “GP” problems, but rather are caused primarily by access block; a backlog of patients occupying ED beds who should be somewhere else in the hospital. There seems to be a general lack of understanding on this point, especially on the part of our politicians.

Irrespective of their effect on ED presentations, WIC’s are obviously a good thing for the health of the community, providing timely access to health professionals who can either sort out your problem or, at the very least, provide informed, professional triage and disposition advice on where you should go and who you need to see to get things sorted. Whilst not doing much to relieve the stress on ED, I suspect they likely do much to alleviate pressure for scarce GP appointments.

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