Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2022) . . Page.. 3762 ..
all the work that has gone into developing the strategy to date. I know that a lot of us—from our public servants to community representatives and community members—are tired, whether it be from the direct impacts of COVID or its stressors, and increased workload, or from caring for and working with our community, and I recognise there may also be consultation fatigue.
But I also recognise that whether it be the disability health strategy, ACT disability strategy, or consultations on other policies, there are often tough and challenging conversations, and I want to thank everyone involved in the strategy for their commitment and the passion that they bring to these important conversations.
Our policies and their impacts are better for the invaluable contributions and creative ideas of all of you who are involved in this work. This is why it is important that we continue to be more inclusive and centre people with disability in all we do across government and community.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
ACT Health—workplace culture review—update
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.30): I am pleased to provide the Assembly with an update on health workforce wellbeing, and the comprehensive actions the government has undertaken and continues to undertake in our ACT public health services. This statement will also update the Assembly on the resolution of 2 December 2020 regarding the junior medical officer workforce and the initiatives the government has undertaken to support our future health workforce.
COVID-19 has had an inevitable impact, and this continues to be managed by our health services every day alongside our health system transformation projects. The health workforce has been challenged with increased numbers of high-acuity patients coupled with staff shortages due to illness and quarantine requirements. This has had knock-on effects across the health workforce including fatigue, increased levels of moral distress and burnout. We can see the impact of the pandemic and historic issues prior to 2020 reflected in numerous reports and research, as all health systems grapple with the significant issues that have been burdening health workers over many years.
The US Surgeon General, for example, released an advisory this year on addressing health worker burnout as a priority for the health system and acknowledged, “During the pandemic, all of these pressures became magnified and amplified.” The 2021 medical training survey by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency was conducted from August to September 2021, and was open to all doctors in training in Australia. More than 40 per cent of respondents in the ACT indicated that COVID-19 had negatively impacted their training, which was similar to the national average.
To address these challenges in the health workforce the ACT government has targeted key areas of reform for the workplace, and we have made investments across those