Page 2235 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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and birth. The shock, disbelief and confusion that come with this loss can have long lasting psychological and social impacts for a parent and their family. For those experiencing perinatal loss, including miscarriage or stillbirth, health professionals will ensure individuals are involved, informed and supported through these experiences.

Rather than resharing their story with each new health professional, continuity through bereavement care will be provided in collaboration with expert perinatal loss care providers. These health professionals will work together to help families experiencing loss navigate through this period and provide warm referral and connection to other services that meet their needs.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the hard-working health professionals who continue to provide high quality care and compassion during the unprecedented and unpredictable challenges of the last few years. The ACT government has an ongoing commitment to support and nurture our public maternity workforce to reach their full potential and feel supported in their roles.

We know that the last two and a half years has been particularly difficult, including as a result of COVID-related visitor restrictions and workforce shortages. There are no simple answers to addressing the ongoing impact of these stressors, but we are committed to finding ways to support the wellbeing of our incredible frontline healthcare workers.

Building capacity and expanding capability is the focus of several actions the government has funded through the 2022-23 budget, including the system-wide maternity workforce planning and establishment of new scholarship opportunities for nurses and midwives. We have committed funding to these initiatives because we have heard from our dedicated midwives that they want scope to innovate and deliver even better and more sustainable outcomes for all Canberrans and their families. We also recognise we need to continue growing the system.

Through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 budgets we have funded an extra 36 full-time equivalent roles across our public maternity services to deliver more services and grow our capacity, delivering two new neonatal intensive care cots at Canberra Hospital, delivering three new special care nursery cots at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, and establishing a gestational diabetes mellitus service at Calvary for Canberra’s north.

In addition, the government is continuing to work to ensure public maternity services provide a safe, supportive and respectful environment for staff, enabling them to thrive and putting them in the best position to support the ACT community. This includes the $7.2 million investment to support our workforce to embed a safer culture in our healthcare services delivered through the 2022-23 budget.

This investment contributes to key actions outlined in the first action plan, delivering a safer workplace and continuing our work towards delivering the Towards a Safer Culture strategy developed in partnership with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, for which we have tripled funding in this budget.

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