The ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has urged the federal government to address bed block issues crippling Canberra's hospitals.
State and territory health ministers have acknowledged there are significant challenges facing the public hospital systems across the country due to a surge in demand, in part to a wave of influenza and COVID-19 infections.
The concessions from the Friday meeting between the different levels of government coincide with a record 138 people within the ACT being admitted to hospital for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
It also highlighted significant challenges from the emergence of Omicron subvariants and the push by the Commonwealth for the pharmaceutical benefits advisory committee to review the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 antiviral therapies.
Mr Barr said the "number-one issue" spoken about at national cabinet last month was bed block, urging that the federal government would need to assist in easing the public health system.
On Thursday, federal Health Minister Mark Butler announced a snap inquiry into existing COVID-19 vaccine contracts and whether the country has enough supply.
He rejected claims the new Labor government had a lack of confidence in vaccine procurement within the Department of Health.
The ACT's Chief Minister said a large number of beds were taken up by those needing an aged care facility or NDIS applicants in need of supported accommodation who were "instead in a state or territory hospital".
"It was the number-one priority area for action under the new federal government, they made commitments in the election campaign around the form of the NDIS and greater investment in aged care so we're expecting them to deliver on it," Mr Barr said.
A joint statement also confirmed Commonwealth health ministers would meet once a month to discuss issues facing various healthcare systems across the country.
The ACT recorded 1169 new cases on Friday, taking the known active cases of the virus in Canberra to a record 6876. Mr Barr said the government would "respond to whatever recommendations come forward" after the health ministers meet.
"COVID is with us for the rest of our lives, it will be a feature of every day of every month of every year for the rest of time, I imagine, like most of these diseases are," Mr Barr said.
"It comes down to how we manage it through vaccines and treatments in the same way as we manage the flu through vaccines and treatment."
The federal government this week also announced progress was underway in approving COVID-19 vaccines for children aged six months to five years.
Mr Butler also highlighted the vaccine inquiry would be completed within weeks and had appointed health expert Jane Halton to conduct the review.
The ACT recorded another COVID-19 death of a woman in her 80s, the second death in two days taking the toll of deaths up to 80. Of the 138 people in hospital, four are in intensive care and one of those is being ventilated.
Since the latest epidemiology report dating June 13 to June 19, the vaccination status of those hospitalised were 32 per cent had three doses, 31 per cent had two doses and 30 per cent were unvaccinated.
The Belconnen region recorded 32,788 infections, the highest of all Canberra regions as Gungahlin came in second with 29,215 cases and Tuggeranong third with a further 27,800 cases.
The age group with the highest number of cases was 25- to 39-year-olds recording 1800 cases, making up 29.7 per cent of all infections.
Clinical director for medicine at Canberra Hospital Ashwin Swaminathan expected bed block to continue as respiratory viruses were dominating the season.
"Bed block is an ongoing issue for the hospital, it is due to the ... high numbers of patients coming through the emergency department due to the circulating respiratory viruses in the community," he said.
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