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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3658..


MS BURCH (continuing):

I can get back to you on the exact date on the calendar with a red circle around the handover, but I think the important thing here is that 297 older tenants—that is, those aged 65 and older—that are living in properties excess to their needs can be accommodated. The benefit of that is that those 297 properties—those larger, two, three or four-bedroom properties—will then be offered to other families, families in the ACT that are currently sitting on the priority and the high needs housing list. So that is 297 families that this project will help directly.

Hospitals—obstetric units

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Health and relates to A review of service delivery and clinical outcomes at public maternity units in the Australian Capital Territory. It found:

This increasing workload, within a fixed staff establishment, has placed unreasonable pressure on midwifery staff in particular. Staff report serious impacts on safe working conditions.

Minister, how has the situation developed under your management that unreasonable pressure is placed on midwives and safe working conditions have been seriously impacted?

MS GALLAGHER: As I said earlier this week in question time, the number of births at Canberra Hospital over the last five years has moved up and moved down and stayed stable for about three years. But since about—

Mr Hanson: It moved up, it moved down, it stayed stable. That is pretty good.

MS GALLAGHER: It did. It went from 2,000. It declined slightly the following year and after that it went back to just over 2,000 a year. Since 2006, 2007, there has been a steady increase in birth numbers at the Canberra Hospital.

I was alerted by the hospital to the workload pressures in November last year and we started immediately working on a budget response to that, which resulted in $8.6 million in this year's budget being put in to supplement what looks to be a sustained level of birth activity at the Canberra Hospital, which is about 2,600 births a year.

We will continue to talk with Calvary around uncapping the public births that they have at Calvary, which, according to staff at the Canberra Hospital, has put additional pressure on them as well. We are continuing to do that.

The workload pressures were identified to me in November and we responded immediately.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, isn't this another example of another total failure of your ability to manage your portfolio and provide a safe and reasonable work culture?


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