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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4928 ..


Mrs Dunne has been Liberal health spokesperson for over 700 days and in that time has not presented a single policy idea for the health portfolio. She has questioned my competence many times, but we have delivered in the health portfolio. The Canberra Liberals do not have the confidence to present one single idea for our health system for Canberra. Based on what we have seen in the past, all we will see is the Canberra Liberals shutting down nurse-led walk-in centres, cutting staff and cutting investment—and outcomes for Canberrans would be worse. They have not presented any other plans, so we can only assume that this is what they will do. I am happy for them to keep digging their hole of relentless negative politics. Meanwhile, I will get on with the job. (Time expired.)

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.32): I take no pleasure in speaking today, but it is our duty as the opposition to ensure that the government cannot just ignore the views of those who speak to us. We are protected when we come into this place, but people in their workplaces are not. The lack of leadership from this minister is astounding. There is a problem of systemic bullying. The directorate has been split, but no-one can quite tell me why or what this is intended to achieve. Infrastructure failures at Canberra Hospital include switchboard combustion, leaks in basic drainage from birth suites and other issues that I will come to. The hospital looks like it is from the Soviet bloc. Delays in delivering new buildings—

Ms Fitzharris interjecting—

MRS JONES: I spent quite a bit of time in that hospital this year, which I will come to in a minute. So I do not think you need to sigh over it. That is a fact. It is elderly, it is horrible and it is a terrible workplace. There is a general unwillingness from the government and from this minister to look at what has happened over many years under Labor ministers, especially in recent years, when things do seem to have gone from bad to worse.

As I mentioned, I had a recent experience in the Canberra Hospital. Earlier this year, I was a patient of the foetal medicine unit at the women’s and children’s hospital. I now have a very good understanding of what it is like to work in, as well as to be a patient of, that hospital. Apart from my regular appointments with the head of the foetal medicine unit, I was admitted several times with serious complications. When I was delivered of my baby—a seven-hour long experience—I was a patient of the women’s and children’s hospital for 14 days. That is a very long stay in hospital for a new mum.

During this time, my baby was a patient of the NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit, and then the nursery. For some time I was feeding my baby from a distance and she was finally discharged to my unit. It was very tough for all those around me. My baby was born premature to a mother who had had a significant operation. It is a very complicated business and the system is not designed for cases like mine.

Most post-caesarean mums go home without their babies if they are in the NICU or in the nursery because their health needs are less complicated, but I was in for a very long stay. I woke up after my operation in the ICU to hear a nurse calling for someone


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