Page 2942 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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did not necessarily have as much experience in that environment, while more experienced staff had been leaving. This is something we have seen across health systems. It has been a very, very busy and difficult time for our critical care qualified staff. I understand also this is something sometimes seen in these critical care spaces; that very experienced staff leave, less experienced staff come in. They need to be supported to learn those skills of critical care. That’s exactly what’s happening. As I said in Ms Castley’s previous question, I’ll come back to the chamber in response to that question with more detail of what is happening.

Canberra Hospital—intensive care unit

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the health minister. I refer to the Canberra Times article on 25 September, the report about the review into the Canberra Hospital’s ICU. It revealed that 21 out of more than 200 ICU staff were interviewed, and almost half of those 21 were executives. The article also revealed that five nurses have left the intensive care unit in September, while 21 have left this year. The staff also questioned why a culture review was needed, given they have been voicing concerns for years with no meaningful action taken.

How will yet another culture review help, given staff have been voicing these same concerns for years with no meaningful action taken?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: There were a number of questions in Ms Castley’s question, and I think she answered her last one herself. As I said, in response to the first question, these issues have been coming up for some years through a range of culture surveys, and hence it is important to respond to those issues. This is Canberra Health Services leadership taking action to respond to those concerns—to invite staff to come forward to have a more detailed conversation about exactly what they are experiencing and exactly what their concerns are so that those concerns can be addressed. They cannot be addressed if you do not ask staff what is driving them and what their experiences are.

To go to Ms Castley’s earlier question, all of the staff in the intensive care unit were invited to participate in that process. My understanding is—and I have been advised by Canberra Health Services and in fact the deputy CEO said this to the media the other day when we stood up on another matter—that the Canberra Times report was incorrect in the proportion of people who participated who were “executive”. That was absolutely wrong. I cannot give you the exact numbers right here, right now—

Opposition members interjecting

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I can if you ask me, and I will take it on notice if you want to know that information. If you want to get the right information, I am happy to do that.

As usual, the opposition, the Canberra Liberals, have relied entirely on the Canberra Times for their information. Everything the Canberra Times says they rely on as fact. They bring it into the chamber. They ask a question, “The Canberra Times said on 25 September; the Canberra Times said on 4 September”!

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