Page 2259 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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MR COCKS: Minister, how do you expect to attract and retain your workforce when nurses are terrified that they will find patients dead in corridors?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Cocks for the supplementary question. I feel very honoured to have received his first question in his time in this place, though I hope he comes up with better questions in the future.

This is a key question that was addressed at the wellbeing symposium that was hosted by Canberra Health Services Monday afternoon and evening. I listened to almost the whole of the symposium—multi-tasking of course—and there was a real conversation around how you talk about the distress that our healthcare workers are experiencing. On the one hand, we absolutely need to recognise the distress that people are experiencing with the level of short-staffing and the concerns that they are expressing. On the other hand, if you ramp it up and you keep talking about it and you keep telling people how terrible it is, it is actually not good for them. It is not good for the culture to do that.

This is a really difficult balance, and it is a conversation that we have often. I have regularly been on radio and been in this place recognising the distress that our staff have experienced and the very high workload that they have been under—as has every health workforce, every hospital and every healthcare system across the country. But using the type of terminology that Ms Castley regularly uses, and Mr Cocks used in his question, about nurses regularly being terrified is not actually helpful.

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order. The minister is having a debate about what sort of language the opposition should use. That is hardly relevant to the debate. All of the language that the opposition has used is a direct quote from a nurse that has been in the media. It is not made-up stuff. I would ask that the minister be relevant to the supplementary question.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, she is being relevant.

Mr Hanson: No; debate on the opposition’s style of asking a question—

MADAM SPEAKER: The question was around how to recruit and retain, and she has referenced the symposium on the issue of staff support—and the time has expired.

Canberra Hospital—Fetal Medicine Unit accreditation

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, we have received representations regarding the status of the Fetal Medicine Unit at Canberra Hospital. Those reports have indicated that the Fetal Medicine Unit has not currently passed its accreditation for training, and that medical staff are leaving because they cannot complete accredited training in Canberra. Minister, will you provide the Assembly with confirmation of the current status of accreditation for training at the Fetal Medicine Unit in the Canberra Hospital?

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