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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1533 ..

In my role, I am privileged to meet and speak with many Canberrans. I think it is fair to observe—I think even those opposite would agree—that the overwhelming majority of people in Canberra have very positive things to say about their experience with our public health system and its wonderful health professionals and other staff. We on this side of the chamber know that all staff at ACT Health come to work every day to do a great job and to serve our community. We add our thanks to the skilled, dedicated and professional staff in the public health system for the job that they do.

Minister Fitzharris has spoken at length in response to the points raised by Mrs Dunne. To this, I would add, in the context of the forthcoming budget, that the government is committed to continuing our investment in health services. We will continue to invest in our community and in growing services for our growing city. Most recently, in the budget update, we invested more in front-line services. We remain committed to the efficient delivery of high quality public health services as our city’s population grows.

I wish to commend the minister for her continued drive and for her investment in and passion for delivering a more contemporary health system that meets head-on the challenges that we face to ensure that we truly have a territory-wide health system that improves access for our fast-growing community. The minister and the government will continue to focus on improving our health system for the benefit of all in the community. We will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s motion today.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (11.02): The ACT Greens will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s motion today. I believe the health minister has in some detail provided some of the reasons why the points set out in Mrs Dunne’s motion are not a fair or accurate account of the situation at ACT Health. Obviously, I have my own particular perspective on that as well as the Minister for Mental Health. I think overall health care in the ACT is extremely high quality, and you hear that regularly from people who use the system and who are both very grateful for and very impressed by the care they receive within ACT Health services. But there are also a range of areas that need improvement. I think the minister has been very frank about that this morning. Certainly, I have been frank about that in areas for which I hold responsibility and which I have spoken about on previous occasions.

The recent accreditation report has particularly highlighted some of the areas under that accreditation scheme that need work. It is worth reflecting on a report like that. It is an audit, and I do not think any one of us has ever seen an audit that has not come out without recommendations. That report has 209 criteria, and 33 of them were not met. Some of those are very serious—I am particularly concerned about the ones identified in the mental health space—and there is work to be done. But what that shows is that a large number of the criteria were met, and were met as a result of the work that has been done by the staff on the floor in the health system, by those who work in policy areas, in corporate areas and in IT, that support the work that happens at the front line. I think it underlines the fact that overall a lot of good work is done in ACT Health. But, as the minister acknowledged, there are areas that need improvement.

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