Page 731 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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The next day, the Canberra Times reported:

Mr Peffer said a number of staff across the health service had come forward after he sent an all-staff email about the original patient privacy breach.

It then goes on to say that one senior nurse has been stood down over a major breach. Minister, was the nurse who was stood down internal or external to the Dhulwa facility?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Hanson for the question. It was a completely separate issue in relation to the nurse who was stood down. It was completely unrelated and was also, as I think Mr Peffer has been clear about, it was a one-off event and a very, very different type of release of information than the one that is alleged to have occurred in relation to the small number of staff at Dhulwa. My understanding from talking to Mr Peffer is similarly that, with the other people who have come forward, it has been a very, very different type of incident. So just to be very clear, in last week in responding to the question, the question was very clearly about whether this type of activity had been occurring elsewhere. Mr Peffer has been clear, both publicly and in his conversations with me, that the incident in relation to the individual nurse was a one-off release and was very different in nature. He has also advised where other people have come forward that has also been not in any way similar to the alleged behaviour of the small number of people who have been either terminated or stood down.

Mr Peffer has also been clear that sometimes people make mistakes in relation to health information. One example I think recently provided was someone inadvertently picked up two pieces of paper off a photocopy machine and folded them together and sent them out in the same envelope. So human error does sometimes occur. So there is a wide range of issues that have come to light over time, but in terms of the question—(Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: Your time has expired.

MR HANSON: With the release of information for which a senior nurse was stood down, was that release to the union or was it to another body? If so, to whom was it to?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The matter is also under investigation. So I will take some advice on what information I am able to provide. I will get that advice as quickly as I can. I hope to come back after question time with a response to that.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, will you ensure that all Canberra Health Services will be covered by the Integrity Commissioner's inquiry into privacy breaches?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: As you would expect, I have not had any conversations with the Integrity Commissioner about this matter. It is entirely a matter for the Integrity Commissioner how widely or how narrowly they chose to undertake their investigation.

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