Page 4043 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take the question on notice. I note the question I took on notice last week still has some time to run until I am required to provide an answer to that. I did provide some additional information after question time on the day last week. Obviously this is a highly specialised position so there are a range of recruitment measures that will be underway. In some cases it has taken some considerable time to recruit to specialised positions for a range of reasons including sometimes, even when we identify an appropriate person and recruit them, they actually take time to wind up their previous job and relocate to the ACT. It seems very likely in this case we would be recruiting from outside the ACT. Potentially we could even be recruiting from overseas. These processes do take time but it is underway.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, how many staff are on leave in the Fetal Medicine Unit and what affect is this having on the service?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take that question on notice.

MR COCKS: Minister, does it concern you that your hospital seems unable to fill an important position that has been advertised for at least a quarter of the year?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Cocks for the question. He has obviously not been in this space for very long. These are specialist positions and it is not unusual, as I have just alluded to, that some of these positions do take time to fill, particularly where there is a scarcity of those skills in Australia and there are a range of—

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, point of order. The minister has explained she has not been able to recruit somebody. We have already heard that. The question is whether she is in anyway concerned by that?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, sit down. She is answering the question. She is in order.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Obviously it would be better if we had someone in place at this point in time. I am always concerned when we have positions vacant we would have liked to fill, but I also understand there is the reality of a scarcity of people and labour in these particular specialised areas. It is really important our recruitment processes are followed and we ensure we get the best person for the job.

Canberra Hospital—Adult Mental Health Unit

MR COCKS: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Minister, last week on 23 November you were asked:

… prior to the patient death on 13 November, were you aware of any safety concerns for patients and staff at the adult mental health unit?

Your answer was “no”. However, the Canberra Health Services occupational violence staff incident report, financial year 2021-2022, as at 15 June 2022, states that “there were 170 occupational violence incidents” in that unit—topping the list.

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