This election there is a strong focus on health, and what we can do to improve health care services across Canberra.

When it comes to women’s and children’s health, Labor has made some significant commitments to ensure there are a range of health care options available so we can prevent illness and disease, and give families access to health services where and when they need them.

A growing Canberra

Our population in the ACT is growing, largely due to the fact we are having more babies. This is great news, and Labor has already made a commitment to improve the facilities at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to ensure it can continue to meet growing demand.

This commitment includes funding for more than 100 additional medical professionals, including nurses and doctors, to continue to support families and deliver babies. We will also invest in two new Maternal and Child Health nurses, and expand the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital so there is a dedicated ED for women and children.

ACT Labor will immunise Canberra's children

Labor is also committed to keeping children healthy through our immunisation program, and will provide the Meningococcal B vaccination for free to all babies born in the ACT, saving families hundreds of dollars for this life-saving vaccine. We will also continue to fund the free antenatal whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women.

We will also establish a specialised adolescent gynaecology service to reduce the need for young women and girls to travel to Sydney for treatment, invest in more paediatric beds in intensive care, and build two family violence risk assessment suites to provide safe, confidential support and medical services for women at the hospital.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Meegan Fitzharris with University of Canberra nurses

One thing I’m really proud of is our plan to establish a new $2 million Family Assistance Fund to provide financial support for parents to be with their child when visiting hospitals interstate.

This will assist families for example who may have a child with cancer and who need to travel to Sydney to access specialist treatment.

I get a lot of feedback from people, especially mums of children with chronic illness or serious disease that they spend a lot of time navigating through a complex health system. Labor has committed to more nurse navigators and to developing a model for a patient navigator so that we can ease this for families.

Walk-in centres providing healthcare when you need it

Finally will also employ more nurses in schools, and ensure there are more options available for families to get free health care in your community, with the establishment of three new nurse walk-in centres in Gungahlin, the Inner North and Weston Creek. Nurse walk-in centres are free, you don’t need an appointment, and they can give you professional medical advice or help with minor illness and injury from 7:30am to 10pm every day.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Meegan Fitzharris at the Belconnen Walk-in Centre14591778_1257775027605852_1803235735680833856_n.jpg

Labor’s plan for health care is about giving you more options when it comes to your health care and ensuring the services are there where and when you need them.

To find out more about our plans go to www.actlabor.org.au/health