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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3186 ..

(3) The established staffing level and profile does not dictate that staff must be permanent. The workforce of psychiatrists is currently a suppliers market. Across the country there are difficulties in filling positions for public psychiatrists, and many are not seeking full time or permanent positions, instead preferring to work as Visiting Medical Officers (VMO).

(4) The percentage of psychiatric services provided by locums in the AMHU during the year to 30 April 2018 was variable throughout the period. The percentage of psychiatric services provided by locums was:

a. 65 per cent from 15 June 2017 – 30 September 2017;

b. 75 per cent from 2 October -2 March 2018; and

c. 100 per cent from 5 March 2018 – 30 April 2018.

(5) The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist places advertisements for all vacant consultant psychiatrist positions within Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services (MHJHADS) in the relevant publications on a more or less continuous basis. As soon as practicable after the closure of an advertising period for a position a new advertisement is posted.

A Medical Workforce Working Group was convened in August 2017 and tasked with contributing to the development of a medical workforce strategy to address the ongoing problems with medical recruitment and retention for MHJHADS. In May 2018 this working group was superseded by the Mental Health Medical Workforce Workshops which are jointly led by Executive Director for People and Culture.

These groups have sought relevant analyses of workforce shortages in other public mental health services and utilised several local sources of information regarding the contributing factors to difficulties in recruitment and retention and barriers to improved performance.

The group is working with the Division of Psychiatry to update psychiatrists on recruitment efforts and progress with senior and junior medical staff and to expedite practical measures to improve work efficiency.

(6) There was one FTE permanent psychiatrist recruited to the AMHU in the period since 15 February 2018.

(7) As advised in the previous answer to Question on Notice 1268, additional staff are being recruited to AMHU to assist with the level of occupancy. Details of the number of staff and the cost were provided in the previous answer.

Answers to questions on notice—costs(Question No 1499)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, upon notice, on 8 June 2018 (redirected to the Acting Minister for Health and Wellbeing):

(1) Why did it take 1,530 minutes costing $2,296.66 to answer the question on notice (QON) 1033.

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