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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 607 ..


However, if there is something good to come out of it, I hope that the issues that have existed between visiting medical officers and staff specialists will end. I think we are mature enough and our city is growing to the point where we actually need that to occur. I have certainly been given commitments from doctors to agree to work to that goal.

I do not think anyone who works in the industry or who has a deep understanding of the long and complex issues that are involved in some of the issues that will be dealt with will discount that there are doctor politics in this, and there are doctor politics in a number of different areas. The focus at the moment has been on obstetrics.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?

MR COE: Minister, given your prejudgements, what confidence can the community have that you will act on any recommendations made by the reviews?

MS GALLAGHER: My frustration last week was a situation where I had been written to by four doctors expressing concern with “the work environment”—the words they used. Those letters I received on 21 and 22 December. I responded to those letters and asked that they expand and provide whatever concerns they had to ACT Health. None of them chose to do that. The next time this was raised was in an expose on ABC TV. That was my frustration—the way the process was being handled and the way reputations were being slurred without any procedural fairness or natural justice or any ability for those that had been slurred to defend themselves. I was frustrated with that.

Mr Seselja: You didn’t know about it, and it was going on for 10 years.

MS GALLAGHER: If the opposition find it a surprise that there have been disagreements in the obstetrics community in excess of 10 years, then none of them are doing their jobs properly. If you have got your heads so far in the sand that you pretend that there were no issues between visiting medical officers and staff specialists then you have been ignoring the facts.

My frustration, as I expressed in those interviews, was real. Indeed—I do not think I am breaching any confidences here—when I met with doctors on Monday morning, when I raised issues of clinical standards, safety, the training program and relationships between midwives and doctors as being issues that need to be investigated, I was told that those matters were not urgent and were not really the substance of the issues. Well, too late. They have to be interviewed, because reputations have already been damaged.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson has the call. Before you continue, Mr Hanson: members of the opposition, I have already spoken today about interjections and continual questioning. We have twice as many supplementary questions as we used to have. I would invite you to use that opportunity and not constantly call across the chamber.


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