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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3639 ..

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, will health check standards in the announcement also be applied to children in kinship care?

MS BURCH: Look, I think that is an important thing to do. We need to care for our children. As foster children, they are in the care of the territory, and we need to give attention to their educational needs and to their health and wellbeing needs. I would see that as being a critical part of that.

Distinguished visitor

MR SPEAKER: Members, before we proceed, I would just like to note that the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Bernard Wright, has joined us in the gallery today, and I would like to welcome him to the ACT Assembly.

Questions without notice

Hospitals—obstetrics units

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. On 25 February this year I asked you about a letter from doctors at the Canberra Hospital who wrote to you about concerns over workplace environment in the obstetrics unit. You replied to me that “they did not write to me about serious concerns”. Minister, given that the Review of Service Delivery and Clinical Outcomes at Public Maternity Units in the ACT found that there was “systematic and long standing reticence by management to address disruptive or inappropriate behaviour” and that staff who did complain felt that “their complaints had not been followed through”, do you now accept that the concerns raised by staff at the Canberra Hospital are serious and, as the report notes “urgent action is needed”?

MS GALLAGHER: You are asking me two different things. You are asking about letters written to me not by doctors that worked at the Canberra Hospital. The doctors who wrote to me do not work at the Canberra Hospital. You then asked me a question linked to that letter about staff who work at Canberra Hospital. The doctors who wrote to me do not work at the Canberra Hospital; they work as private—

Members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: The question Mrs Dunne asks is basically trying to imply that I was not telling the truth when I said that people had not raised with me serious concerns about inappropriate behaviour at the Canberra Hospital. Those doctors wrote to me about the vacancies that had been advertised for positions within the Canberra Hospital, and said that they would like to work at the Canberra Hospital. There was one line in each letter that said, “However, we do not feel that we can due to concerns about workplace issues”, I think they wrote. So what did I do? I wrote back and I said, “Can you expand on that please?” They wrote about workplace issues—they are the words. I wrote back and said, “Can you expand on them please, so that we can address these issues that are as yet unidentified in your letter to me.” I did not get a response to that. Subsequently, a whole range of other issues were raised.

Mr Seselja: What was not serious about their concerns?

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