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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2895 ..


Health—services

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (3.07): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) Canberra has been plagued for years by the worst emergency department wait times in the country, with patients being treated in hallways at the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department;

(b) Canberra junior doctors face the nation’s highest rates of bullying and uncertainty about correct pay;

(c) all staff at Canberra Health Services, and especially those at the Canberra Hospital, have to work with bullying and harassment issues not yet resolved years after being identified;

(d) we have seen Canberrans develop cancer while waiting more than a year for endoscopy examinations;

(e) the Minister for Health has admitted that we have seen a decline, in real terms, in investment in our health system over the past 10 years, leaving us unprepared for the increased demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and having to build temporary facilities in order to cope;

(f) we have seen the Canberra Hospital expansion and replacement of major infrastructure that is aged and at the end of its life promised at the 2012, 2016 elections, re-promised at the 2020 election, but yet to be delivered at all;

(g) the $375 million budgeted for the Canberra Hospital expansion in 2012 being reallocated to the now empty tram;

(h) in January this year, the Minister for Health committed to ensuring 70 percent of emergency department presentations were seen within clinically appropriate timeframes “within nine months,” but the latest available data shows that “urgent” presentations to the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department were only seen in clinically appropriate timeframes 26 percent of the time;

(i) the “fit testing” of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers during the latest COVID-19 has been distressingly inadequate, with most nurses and physicians in the Emergency Department and in COVID wards not having been appropriately fit tested at the start of the current COVID-19 outbreak as per basic occupational health and safety requirements;

(j) health workforce shortages, and 1000 workers wanting to re-enter the health workforce, but no clear pathway or re-registration process outlined by the Government for them to re-enter for those with lapsed registrations;

(k) the Chief Minister claimed that the Garran Surge Centre would get our intensive care unit (ICU) capacity “into the low hundreds” on 22 September, yet the beds in the centre will not be classified ICU beds, but instead as emergency beds; and


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