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Thursday, 2 June 1960

Mr FAIRHALL - In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Act 1913-1960, I bring up the report relating to the following work: -

The proposed construction of a new nurses' home and training school at the Canberra Community Hospital, Australian Capital Territory. and move -

That the report be printed.

The nurses' home at present in use at Canberra provides accommodation for 152 persons. It has associated with it a training school, conducted in a prefabricated building which will shortly be required for a new ward that will be necessary because of the growth of Canberra ahead of the provision of additional accommodation in the new hospital for which the House accepted a recommendation this morning. In 1956 the committee had referred to it a proposal for a new nurses' home, but at that time it did not proceed to study the design in great detail. Nevertheless, the committee suggested that emphasis should be placed on completing the nurses' home as early as possible in anticipation of the new hospital. Having regard to population trends in Canberra and the fact that the House has already been good enough to accept the committee's recommendation for the construction of a 600-bed hospital, it is evident that there will be need for additional nurses and, therefore, additional living accommodation for them.

The proposal before the committee at the moment is that a new nurses' home should be provided, to incorporate the training school and to accommodate an additional 254 nurses. The present nurses' home in association with the Canberra Community

Hospital houses approximately 152 persons and it is fully occupied. The overall requirements for staffing the new 600-bed hospital are estimated by hospital authorities at 545 nurses. Of this number, 123 nurses would live out, so that accommodation is required within the hospital precincts for 422 nurses. Some 80 additional staff will have to be provided for - wardsmen, kitchen staff and others in that classification. When these figures are worked out, it will be seen that the nurses' home to be constructed will need to provide accommodation for 350 nurses.

One of the big aids to the recruitment of nursing staff these days was suggested to be the provision of good training facilities. Therefore, a good deal of care has gone into checking the design of the training school to be associated with the nurses' home. The site of the proposed building is 150 yards north-west of the new hospital block, and the flood level has been taken care of. The floor level will be located at the 1,836-ft. level, giving more than ample protection against flood. The building will have seven floors, including two service floors, and the dining roomlounge will be separate from the accommodation proper in order to provide isolation for nurses who require to catch up on their sleep during daylight hours. All the necessary amenities have been provided for and every effort has been made, with due regard to economy, to produce a homely atmosphere within the nurses' home. The form of construction of the building will be generally similar to that recommended for the new hospital block.

The cost of the building is estimated to be £915,000, including £84,000 for site works. I point out to the honorable member who had a question to ask this morning on the cost of the new hospital block that the estimate for nurses' quarters compares favorably with all costs that we have been able to check. One new home that we had the advantage of inspecting was a new nurses' home now under construction at Newcastle. The committee is satisfied in all respects that this proposal is not only necessary - it is, perhaps, overdue - and therefore recommends the report for acceptance by the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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