Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2022) . . Page.. 2668 ..
Before concluding, I note the health minister has said in the media that she literally thinks of these families every single day. These families want action. That is what a minister of the crown is expected to do—to act professionally, to act with integrity but, above all, to act. So I call on the minister to rise above the politics, above the petty and ridiculous game of blaming others for her lack of care and compassion, and to get on with the job that she is paid so handsomely to do. It is a privilege to be ACT health minister, and with that comes enormous responsibility. So I urge the minister to accept responsibility for the broken health system that she leads and start fixing it. Enough of hearing, “Ms Castley did not tell me that Katrina’s family needed support”! It is not for me nor anyone else to tell the minister that a traumatised family, who lost their only daughter, might want contact and support by Canberra Health Services—particularly as we read in the media that the hospital was providing support to the staff involved. To reach out to a bereaved family in a time of utter despair is not an intrusion; it is called compassion. That is what humans do.
Canberra families grieve with the parents of Rozalia Spadafora, Brian Lovelock and others. Parents and carers are understandably thinking, “This could have been my child,” but, no matter how much we grieve, we cannot bring back these children. What the Labor-Greens government can do, and what it must do, is improve health care for our most vulnerable, our sick and deteriorating kids, to ensure the best services are provided to them. Nothing less. This would be the most appropriate tribute to these grieving families to show the government genuinely cares about improving health care; this is what Canberrans elect their governments to do.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (3.34): I made a comment earlier to the media that I was pleased Ms Castley had moved away from simply focusing on my character to something more substantial. I thank Ms Castley for bringing this motion to the Assembly today, but, unfortunately, she did not maintain that focus on substantial issues throughout her comments.
I do want to assure Ms Castley—and she is, in fact, well aware, so maybe I am assuring the rest of the chamber—that Canberra Health Services has not waited for a coronial inquest. Ms Castley is well aware that Canberra Health Services commissioned a clinical review of Rozalia Spadafora’s tragic death, and this review is being considered by the clinical review committee this week. The Chief Operating Officer of Canberra Health Services has written to the Spadafora family, providing an update and inviting them to a meeting to discuss the findings. Before Ms Castley encourages me to publicly release that review, I will advise her that those clinical reviews are subject to very strict privacy rules, and I will not be able to do that; but we will, of course, be publicly releasing any actions that arise from that, taking those very seriously and acting on those as quickly as possible.
We, in government, certainly do understand that parents and carers are concerned about ensuring the best hospital care for sick and deteriorating children. I appreciate that there has been media attention about the early warning system, so I also appreciate the opportunity to have this debate today.
I have circulated amendments to ensure that everyone in this place has more comprehensive information about the ACT government’s work to continue to deliver