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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1575 ..


MRS DUNNE: Minister, seeing that you have now acknowledged your responsibility for this poor governance, will you resign from your position as Minister for Health and Wellbeing?

MS FITZHARRIS: No.

ACT Health—workplace culture

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, on 20 February 2018 the media reported that the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation ACT had claimed doctors were being put off by a bad culture within ACT Health. Minister, why has the government allowed a bad culture to develop within ACT Health?

MS FITZHARRIS: I do not believe that is the case and, as I said this morning, a positive culture, particularly in a health organisation, is everyone's responsibility. I have taken some clear decisions to significantly improve the governance of the organisation and, with it, my clear direction to the interim director-general and to the senior staff is that they lead by example in establishing a positive and healthy culture within ACT Health and across all of its facilities.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, why has the government failed to tackle issues in specialties such as urology and obstetrics that have led to specialists not wanting to move to Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: That is not the case. I believe that in relation to urology there were some issues a number of years ago, prior to my time. They have subsequently been addressed, and that profession has now been re-accredited. Certainly, there is hot competition for specialists right across the country. I think we have a very good story to tell about the level of service we provide, the government's investment in more health services and more health facilities, and our tremendous relationship with our universities, particularly the ANU, the University of Canberra and ACU. We have a very good story to tell about health investment in this city and what a wonderful city it is to live in. That work on workforce attraction is well underway.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, when will you face the fact that you will not succeed in workplace attraction until you address the staff culture issues that are a turn-off to young doctors considering moving to Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: We welcomed, I believe, over a hundred interns into ACT Health earlier this year. I understand they are all delighted to be working for ACT Health. We have had people looking to work in the wonderful new facility, the University of Canberra hospital.

I note that it is certainly the case that we have seen consistently from the opposition any opportunity to talk down anything that is happening in Health. I have observed this from afar within the chamber, both on the backbench and on the frontbench now, and I guess it is no surprise to see it continue.


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