The Liberal-National Government is investing more than $68 million to deliver better health care to the people of the ACT.
This will include improved access to primary care services, including mental health, especially for young people, help for people with eating disorders, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, new critical hospital infrastructure, research, and improved care for senior Australians living in residential aged care.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the funding boost helps to ensure the more than 400,000 people living in the ACT can access the services they need, when and where they need them.
“This investment continues to advance the Government’s long term national health plan, and significantly strengthens the ACT’s health and aged care systems.”
“Under the Government’s Long Term Health Plan, we are making significant investment in Australia’s public hospitals. For the ACT, this plan delivers an additional $594.3 million for under a new five year funding agreement.”
“This will deliver thousands of new hospital services to patients across Canberra and the surrounding region, providing the lifesaving services people need. This investment will help to address the growing demand for hospital services in the ACT.”
Senator Zed Seselja welcomed the funding boost and said that the Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.
“This significant funding package for the ACT provides additional support in those areas where we can make a difference.”
“I am particularly grateful to be announcing $13.5million for an expansion of the ICU in Canberra Hospital, delivering much needed beds for patients in Canberra who need them.”
“A strong economy has enabled our government to double hospital funding in the ACT, and in addition deliver these health projects in the ACT Health Plan announced today,” Senator Seselja said.
The Government will provide $13.5 million to establish a residential eating disorder centre in the ACT.
This centre will provide specialist care to hundreds of people experiencing eating disorders, through in-patient best practice treatment programs. The centre will also help advance the way eating disorders are diagnosed and treated through training, education and advocacy.
Around one million Australians live with an eating disorder.
Patients will also benefit from the Government’s previously announced historic $110 million investment in Medicare to provide up to 40 rebatable psychological and 20 dietetic sessions a year for people suffering from an eating disorder.
Funding of $13.5 million will provide for the much needed expansion of the Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where there is an urgent need to address capacity shortfall. This investment will deliver an additional six to eight ICU beds, providing lifesaving care for patients requiring acute medical treatment and intensive care monitoring.
This expansion will relieve pressure on ACT acute health care services.
The Government is ensuring the ACT shares in our national MRI expansion program, which is delivering an unprecedented number of Medicare-eligible MRI services across the nation. Canberra will get a new MRI service at Calvary Hospital, Bruce, starting 1 April, with Government funding of more than $6.0 million. More MRI units allow patients to access Medicare-subsidised lifesaving scans for cancer, as well as stroke, heart and other medical conditions.
New aged care funding will improve services and protections for ACT seniors. The Government will provide $3.7 million to support all ACT residential aged care facilities to optimise the safety of senior Australians receiving care and reduce adverse effects related to medication.
This will be delivered by embedding pharmacists in all residential care facilities in Canberra – with funding for each service to employ a part-time pharmacist to work closely with general practitioners and nursing staff, to ensure the quality use of medicines.
Senior Australians living in residential aged care services are the highest users of medications.
The Government is continuing to support senior Australians in the ACT to stay living at home for as along possible. Currently more than 1,300 people are receiving a home care package, which provides coordinated care to help them remain at home, where they want to be. This number will continue to grow in line with the Government’s significant investment to deliver more home care packages.
Senior Australians in the ACT will also benefit from $60 million in funding for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme – providing entry level home supports such as meals on wheels, cleaning, gardening and transport.
Mental health and suicide prevention is a Government priority. Funding of $6 million will help establish the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Project to support the mental health of young people in the ACT.
This project will offer two pathways for support, through an Online Youth Navigation Portal and the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) program.
The online portal will provide personalised online and phone services for young people, their friends and family, and other health professionals.
The online portal will consolidate information in one place, to provide a clear and accessible pathway for young people to get the help they need. It will also provide an important triage function to ensure young people at highest risk are supported.
The YAM health promotion program will be delivered in schools across the ACT to educate and engage young people in discussions about mental health.
The Government will invest $3.4 million over four years for a new headspace centre in the ACT, in addition to the established centre at Torrens Street, Braddon.
headspace is the Australian Government’s preferred method of service delivery for young people living with mental illness. It provides tailored and holistic mental health support, working closely with young people at a crucial time in their lives to help them get back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health as they go through life. In 2017–18, more than 1,500 young people in Canberra and the region accessed headspace services.
The Government will invest almost $7.9 million in critical drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. This includes $3.6 million for a Community Withdrawal Support Service – a non-residential based withdrawal program delivered by Registered Nurses, in partnership with general practitioners and alcohol and other drug services.
This program will provide support for people with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and a safe alternative for people who experience barriers accessing hospital and residential clinics.
Funding of $4.3 million will help expand and modernise community-based residential alcohol and other drug rehabilitation services in the ACT.
Community-based residential rehabilitation provides a safe, structured and therapeutic environment for people to develop the skills and strategies to make positive life changes.
This investment will deliver essential infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, and increase the number of rehabilitation beds.
The Government is providing significant funding to Canberra’s universities to advance their important research.
The Government is providing $10 million to the Phenomics Translation Centre at the Australian National University. Phenomics is the study of how our genes interact with the environment. This is important in understanding the way a disease a works, so personalised treatment can be developed for patients.
This investment will help doctors better understand, prevent and treat complex and chronic diseases as well as debilitating or incurable diseases. It will also provide valuable insight into new drugs, devices and therapies that will transform and save lives.
The University of Canberra receives funding of $4 million for preventive health research. This will support research focusing on better coordinated care for people with chronic and complex disease, and helping them to self-manage their condition, to keep them out of hospital.