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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 760..


Health system—Canberra Hospital

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Health and it relates to the 10-year war in the obstetrics unit. Minister, the commissioner's review notes, in a section headed "Complaints", "the resignation of seven registrars who were unable to cope with the atmosphere, personalities or standards within the obstetrics unit". Minister, this issue is not dealt with in any of the recommendations or findings in the review. Have you sought advice from either the reviewer or the department as to why this was the case?

MS GALLAGHER: This review predates my term as minister. I cannot answer for the discussions that the previous minister may have had with the Health Services Commissioner. I have frequent meetings with the Health Services Commissioner and I can tell the Assembly that at these meetings, either with my staff or myself, no concerns have been raised with me around obstetric care at the Canberra Hospital. Concerns that have emerged last week—

Mr Hanson: People make complaints and they get ignored.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson! Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?

Mr Seselja: Are you going to stop answering questions mid-sentence?

Ms Gallagher: I am going to stop every time someone else asks me a question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Doszpot has the floor.

MR DOSZPOT: Mr Speaker, my question is, obviously, to the minister again. Minister, if an own-initiative review completed by the Health Complaints Commissioner five years ago failed to address this critical concern, how can the public have confidence in your latest review suggestion?

MS GALLAGHER: I think they are casting a view about the Health Service Commissioner's report. Again, the first part of that question would need to be referred to the commission for them to answer, as it was an own-initiative investigation into concerns that had been raised. I cannot answer why her report and findings did not cover that particular area of the report. It is simply that I am not able to answer it.

In relation to the reviews that I have announced—and we will be finalising the details of those, hopefully, by the end of this week—we are taking careful and considered advice about how to establish those two different reviews. There are actually two reviews going on. One is into standards and clinical safety, and one is into the issues around the workplace and allegations of harassment. The terms of reference are being finalised. The reason I have taken my time to finalise them is to make sure that people feel able that, if they choose to participate, they are able to participate in a safe manner. And I think it is quite sensible that I do that.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson; a supplementary?


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