Released 04/06/2013

The ACT Government will deliver $129 million over four years for growth and new initiatives and $72.3 million in capital funding in the 2013-14 ACT Budget to ensure Canberrans continue to enjoy a world-class health system, Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher said today.

This year's Budget demonstrates our commitment to continued investment in quality healthcare for Canberrans and to planning for the sustained growth of our health system.  In particular, we must cater for our ageing population by expanding and enhancing services to meet rising demand.

Increased investment in health care, both in new initiatives and key health infrastructure, remains one of the Gallagher Government's top priorities.  This is demonstrated by the overall investment in health in this Budget, which is $1.3 billion.

Meeting demand in health

$45.5 million will be provided for an additional 31 inpatient beds across Canberra and Calvary Hospitals to meet increasing demand, and six Hospital in the Home places (HITH).

The additional 31 general inpatient beds will be opened across both Canberra Hospital (16 beds) and Calvary Public Hospital (15 beds) - inclusive of a four-bed designated stroke unit, with the six HITH beds split evenly between Canberra and Calvary hospitals.

Calvary Hospital will open 10 general inpatient beds early in 2013-14, with the dedicated four-bed stroke unit and one additional general inpatient bed coming online from January 2014.

HITH is a service provided to patients who do not require constant 24 hour monitoring, but do require direct medical and/or nursing intervention on a daily or more regular basis (such as regular provision of high-dose antibiotics).  The use of HITH is beneficial for patients from a safety and wellbeing perspective, as well as being more cost-effective.

$33 million for elective surgery to continue to reduce the number of people waiting beyond standard timeframes for care.

This initiative builds on funding provided in recent years to meet the increased demand for elective surgery procedures and to reduce the time people wait.  It will see the ACT meet its target of 11,000 operations in 2013-14.

The ACT Government has reduced the number of people waiting longer than one year for elective surgery by 69 per cent over the past two years.  This funding will see this progress continue.


$12 million to expand access to emergency medicine and rapid assessment services at our public hospitals.

Funding provided under this initiative will increase staffing and resources at the Canberra Hospital to manage patient movement through and out of the Emergency Department.  It will also establish a new eight-bed rapid assessment unit at Calvary Public Hospital to improve access to specialist services.


$744,000 for a new outpatient service to provide more drug and alcohol consultations in the community.

Outpatient services are recognised as an integral component of the suite of specialist treatments and the new drug and alcohol consultations will address the 'missing link' in the suite of specialist alcohol and other drug services currently offered in the ACT.

Other Budget initiatives include:

  • $4.1 million for expanded community mental health services including to support people exiting the Alexander Maconochie Centre;
  • $6.3 million for three additional beds in the Neonatal Intensive Care, Paediatric and Foetal Medicine units at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children;
  • $3.2 million to enhance the level of health services provided for women, youth and children through additional community based care and the expansion of outpatient services;
  • $4.6 million to enhance cancer outpatient services by providing more services at the new Canberra Region Cancer Centre;
  • $9 million to expand the new Belconnen Health Centre and include more high quality health services including: a nurse-led Walk-in Centre, breast screening, aged care and rehabilitation services, and community mental health services;
  • $4.1 million for additional capacity to meet growing demand for outpatient services at the Canberra Hospital;
  • $404,000 over the next two years to continue implementation of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tobacco Control Strategy;
  • $1.2 million to increase community awareness and uptake of Advanced Care Plans (ACP) through education programs, including the establishment of a mobile clinic; and
  • $3.6 million to establish an Obesity Management Service to improve the health of patients with severe obesity through coordinated intervention and prevention services.

Building more health infrastructure

$20.4 million will be provided for the design and construction of a range of facilities to allow extra beds across the public health system in the Territory. 

This initiative expands clinical services at Calvary Public Hospital, including the design and construction of a rapid medical assessment and planning unit, additional beds, and design and construction of the Calvary Birth Centre.

Funding will also be provided for essential infrastructure required to complete projects at the Canberra Hospital such as the Canberra Region Cancer Centre, expansion of the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and the creation of extra bed capacity.


$1.3 million to design a multi-storey car park for up to 700 vehicles on the Calvary Hospital campus.

Additional parking for vehicles at Calvary Hospital will help meet projected demand for services and ensure better access to the Calvary facilities for patients, visitors and staff.


$8.2 million to complete the planning and forward design stages of the new University of Canberra Public Hospital.

The new facility will deliver sub-acute rehabilitation, aged care and mental health services for residents of the ACT and surrounding region.  It will provide up to 200 beds and associated infrastructure required to support clinical services.

$951,000 to open new nurse-led Walk-in Centres at the Tuggeranong Health Centre and the enhanced Belconnen Health Centre.

This funding will expand the highly successful nurse-led Walk-in Centre model to help meet increasing demand for health services close to where people live.

$1.7 million for a fully equipped mobile dental care van. 

This will enable dental services to be provided to people who find it difficult to access dental care, such as nursing home residents. $600,000 has been provided for the van and $1.1 million in recurrent funding to operate the service.

$40.8 million for clinical services and inpatient facilities

This funding recommits the ACT Government to design the next stage of the Canberra Hospital redevelopment.  In the first two years, the ACT Government will finalise the concept and forward design of a new building, providing for the expansion of clinical services and more beds.  It will also deliver an expansion of the Emergency Department including a paediatric ED.

- Statement ends -

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