Page 748 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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Canberra Health Services—data security

MR COCKS: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Minister, despite refusing to answer questions about staff in this Assembly, it was revealed in the media that one staff member of CHS had been fired and two others stood down. Minister you have also said that you could not make any comments because investigations were still ongoing. Minister, if investigations were still ongoing, why was the staff member sacked?

MS DAVIDSON: This is quite an interesting question I have from Mr Cocks here. He is asking why someone’s employment was terminated when he knows full well that that is actually the subject of the investigation. We have talked about this a number of times. It is really important that the Integrity Commission and the police are able to do their work effectively without political interference and without running political commentary on what they are doing. It is really important that those investigations are able to be continued. This is about making sure we are doing justice to the people whose privacy is so important in this. As I was saying this morning, we are talking about people who are particularly at risk in our community. We are talking about a community that needs to know that its community-delivered mental health services and its inpatient mental health services are being delivered by skilled professionals in accordance with all their legal obligations regarding patient privacy and confidentiality. For that reason I cannot talk about the details of specific incidents.
It is very important that Mr Cocks understands and respects this.

MR COCKS: Minister, if the case of that staff member has been finalised, why will you not comment on that case?

MS DAVIDSON: Thank you for the question. As I have said before and as has also been said by others in the public domain, one staff member has been terminated and two staff members have been stood down in relation to the privacy breach. No further comment can be made at this time because there are investigations ongoing. It is very important that the Canberra Liberals here understand and respect police investigation processes so that the people whose privacy is so important here are able to see justice.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, what responsibility will you take for the ongoing failures in the mental health system?

MS DAVIDSON: Thank you for the question. I think it is really important for people to know that there are many people in our community who are using a diverse range of mental health services, not just inpatient services but also the range of services delivered in the community, closer to home and at an early stage in people’s illness before things become acute or become a crisis. We have seen huge success with some new initiatives in recent years, including the PACER service which is a collaboration between mental health clinicians, paramedics and police. We have seen the introduction of the first Safe Haven in Belconnen, which is supporting people to be able to access support from peer mental health workers, a growing area within our mental health workforce, at times when they otherwise might find it difficult to be able to go somewhere in person and be supported.

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