Page 564 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022
commitment announced today. And the ACT Health Directorate is establishing an ACT allied health workforce framework to guide and track the relevant activities from public sector allied health services that contribute to a robust workforce.
Unfortunately, we also know that there are national shortages of trained health professionals in some areas, such as midwifery. Both Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital have workforce strategies in place to mitigate this and to attract people to join our health services. These include targeted programs in areas of need and stepped approaches to assist health workers to gain qualifications.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I would like to touch on the importance of primary care and an integrated health system. We know that the health system is made up of health workers across many areas of the community and we recognise that there are considerable pressures everywhere. Often the first interaction a person in the community will have when seeking health care is in primary care, most likely a general practitioner but possibly a nurse practitioner or allied health worker. From there, they may have a number of contacts with other health services, and it is crucial that our health system is effectively able to integrate so that everyone can receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place.
I am sure I speak on behalf of every member of the Assembly in expressing again my sincere appreciation and thanks to the territory’s health workforce for everything they have done and for their continued hard work during these difficult times.
I present the following paper:
Our Public Health Workforce—Ministerial statement, 24 March 2022.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.55): As shadow health minister, I am pleased to begin my response to the minister’s statement on our public health workforce by stating: how great are our nurses? My mum was one, so I know how awesome Canberra’s nurses are. When people think of our health system, they think of nurses—of their training, the shift work, their commitment, their skills, their patience and their understanding. Their roles are not glamorous—we all know that—but Canberrans definitely appreciate their nurses. They are the beating pulse of Canberra’s health system and we need them. We also need to train them, support them, mentor them and acknowledge them.
Unfortunately, our nurses are working in a health system that is broken, a health system in crisis, with exorbitant waiting lists for elective surgery, an overstretched emergency department and a hospital culture infected with bullying and harassment. The health minister is responsible for Canberra’s health system. But you only need to look at the front page of the Canberra Times to see that it seems that the minister may have lost control of the health system.