Page 3697 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I completely reject the way that Mr Cocks has phrased that question. That is absolutely not what occurs in my office. I am very happy to go back and have a look and see if there is any additional detail that can be provided in relation to the actual questions that have been asked. But, as I have said repeatedly now, my effort is always to try to answer the questions that have been asked as succinctly and as accurately as possible. Sometimes it is not possible to do that with a reasonable use of resources from our health services, which do really important work every day.

ACT Health—child and adolescent services review

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the health minister. The President of the Australian Medical Association ACT, Walter Abhayaratna, told 2CC that he hoped that the expert panel for child and adolescent services “has a membership that includes staff or appropriate committees that allow true engagement”. The former director of paediatrics also says in his opinion piece that “administrators do not listen to issues raised by staff and this caused cultural problems”. Your media release on 7 November did not list any staff members on the panel. Minister, why are there no staff members on the expert panel to discuss issues of child and adolescent services?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: That is not accurate. Senior leaders from Canberra Health Services are in fact members of that panel. It also includes independent expertise, and that is what we want. We need that independent expertise to come in to support an independent view about the delivery of the recommendations that have already been made and the finalisation of the child and adolescent clinical services plan. We have also said that that panel will be supported both with consumer engagement and with staff engagement in relation to that.

Going back to Dr Abhayaratna’s quote, I think he said, “on the panel” or “as part of those groups that will be supporting the panel’s work”. Absolutely, staff will be engaged in that work.

MS CASTLEY: Is there any recommendation in the paediatrics organisational and service plan to set up an expert panel to oversee the implementation of recommendations?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: From memory, I do not think there was a specific recommendation in that. But I would say to Ms Castley that this is a broader piece of work. While part of the remit of the child and adolescent critical services expert panel will be to review the implementation of the paediatrics organisational and service plan for Canberra Health Services, and make sure that those recommendations are being implemented or, if they are not being implemented, that there is a good reason that something else is happening instead, the key task of this important expert panel is to finalise the territory-wide child and adolescent clinical services plan, which is part of our commitment under the ACT Health Services Plan.

MR COCKS: Minister, how can parents have confidence in a system that the AMA and staff have raised so many concerns about?

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