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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1476 ..

(b) inefficient procedures and processes, including complaints handling;

(c) inadequate training in dealing with inappropriate workplace practices;

(d) inability to make timely decisions;

(e) poor leadership and management at many levels throughout the ACT public health system; and

(f) inefficient and inappropriate human resource practices, including in recruitment; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to implement the remaining recommendations within the next 200 days.

Our public health system has been under stress for too long. Years and years of not being able to keep up by the Labor-Greens government has resulted in some of the worst health outcomes in Australia. As this government serves its 20th year in office, their continued broken promises and failure to deliver services is no clearer than in the area of health. Labor and the Greens have overseen the significant deterioration of the public health system.

Our public hospitals are regularly operating at full capacity, at times even overflowing. As I have mentioned before, I have seen, and others have reported to me, patients in beds in hospital corridors. Wait times for emergency department treatment are the longest in the country. Elective surgery waiting lists are far too long, and just recently in this place we debated the massive waiting list of over 7,000 people waiting for endoscopy treatments. These long waits are unacceptable; but in the ACT, this has been the case for years. Unfortunately, these waits can have deadly consequences.

Labor and the Greens have also been talking about the expansion of Canberra Hospital for well over a decade. But they still have not delivered it. The government promised at the 2016 election that the SPIRE building would be completed by 2022—just months away now. However, it was just in the past week that the development application for this building was even submitted—the first time that the community has seen any detailed plan, just months before the original completion date. Now the government maintains that it will complete the project in the 2023-24 financial year. Given the track record, that is unlikely.

The government also promised that the expansion to the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children would be completed by 2021, which is now blown out to late 2023. The record in health infrastructure is very clear, and they would rather not talk about it.

It is not a surprise that the government’s inability to properly manage the health system, or deliver on its key health commitments, has resulted in a toxic workplace culture in health. Staff are not given the improved workplace facilities that they so desperately need, working in an under-capacity hospital with too few staff and inadequate support. So many do not feel supported by the government. Sadly, many are subjected to bullying and harassment, which should have no place in any workplace.

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