Page 3520 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

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(2) Is there a dedicated team of professionals who provide this support; if so, can the Minister provide details about staff numbers, roles, skills, etc.

(3) Is this support available 24/7 and at call for any staff who seeks it.

(4) How much budget funding is allocated to this support service, including details for the last three years.

(5) Did the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Canberra Health Services (CHS) state in The Canberra Times on 7 June 2022, that the organisation could do more to support staff who experience traumatic events through their work, following the death of an obstetrician; if so, what has CHS done since the obstetrician’s death to support staff and what “more” is being considered or planned in light of the official’s remark.

Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) A range of local, organisation and national supports are provided to staff as part of orientation and refresher training within the health service, a specific specialty or as part of profession specific training. These include but are not limited to: 24/7 confidential support services specific for doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and dentists; standby support after suicide; suicide call back service; managers hotline for help in supporting staff through difficulties; RED contact officers; Workplace Resolution and Support Service; Next Step Beyond Blue program.

The Canberra Health Services’ (CHS) Staff Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2023 provides a strategic approach across the organisation to staff health and wellbeing and is a key component in continuing to build a physically and mentally healthy workplace culture. As part of this strategy the CHS managers’ guide for the provision of psychological support for employees, outlines actions and supports for staff appropriate to the situation.

Converge International is the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider for CHS and the ACTPS. Following a critical incident, managers can notify Converge to determine the appropriate action and guidance including whether on-site support is required. Converge can deliver support sessions for staff face-to-face, via video or over the phone.

Attendance on site of a professional consultant is arranged at a time to suit the health service. The consultant offers confidential support to staff who may have been impacted by the event.

The support is offered in a group setting followed by one-on-one appointments for staff if required. Attendance at the session is voluntary.

From 28 July 2022 to 13 January 2023, Converge is providing an on-site service at the Canberra Hospital for staff to access one-on-one counselling appointments two days per week between 8am and 4pm.

(2) Converge International offers a dedicated team of health professionals to provide counselling support for staff, this includes critical response teams with trauma informed training.

(3) Converge International Critical Incident Support is available 24/7 for staff who
seek it.

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