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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3312 ..


MS BERRY: Parents that I speak to want to ensure that their children are well aware of their rights at work, particularly young people starting work in the ACT, and make sure that they are paid correctly and learn to ensure that they get the right treatment at work and where they can get advice if they need it. I think it is absolutely vital that young people are engaged with unions to ensure that they can access the support that they need from various organisations that can support them.

Mr Coe: How is that a learning opportunity?

MS BERRY: How is it not?

Canberra Hospital—accident and emergency procedures

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I refer to the case of a lung transplant recipient with low levels of immunity who sat in accident and emergency yesterday, 20 August, for six hours before he saw a doctor. During that time he was exposed to people with colds, the flu and other contagious diseases. The patient commented on social media that in the time he waited he could have driven 3½ hours to St Vincent's Hospital where "they know how to treat, care for and prioritise transplant patients". He also commented that when he did eventually see someone they apologised and told him he had slipped through the cracks. Minister, why did a known transplant patient sit in accident and emergency at the Canberra Hospital for six hours before seeing a doctor?

MS FITZHARRIS: I was not aware of that situation until Mrs Dunne raised it. I do know that emergency department staff triage and the doctors in the emergency department make decisions based on clinical needs. On occasion it is not unusual, depending on what is happening in the emergency department on any given day. But I can follow up, if Mrs Dunne could point me to this particular commentary on social media, and provide further advice. I trust, as I hope Mrs Dunne should, the clinical decisions made by staff in an emergency department, a very busy place on any given day.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, does the Canberra Hospital accident and emergency department have a set of procedures for people who have had transplants or suffer other significant immunodefiencies?

MS FITZHARRIS: I shall take that question on notice. But I, unlike, it appears, Mrs Dunne, do trust the clinical decisions of the—

Mrs Dunne: They admitted that he fell through the cracks.

MS FITZHARRIS: Well, as I indicated in my previous answer, if Mrs Dunne would like to provide further advice on that to my office directly, I would be more than happy to follow up.

MISS C BURCH: Minister, why did this patient not get higher priority in accident and emergency, instead of being left to slip through the cracks?


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