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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2905 ..


In relation to what we are doing about fit testing, there are now three machines running seven days a week at Canberra Health Services, at Canberra Hospital, with extended hours, and one additional machine running Monday to Friday from 7.30 to 3.30 until the end of October. Currently 25 staff are trained as fit testers, and the 267 staff in ED and 60 staff within the COVID ward 8B are fit tested.

CHS are working with the emergency department and ward 8B to ensure that any new starters or staff rotating in through the area are fit tested as soon as possible. Staff working in any clinical areas with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are prioritised and booked for a fit test to capture any staff that have not yet booked for their fit test. As of 5 October, 2,415 staff across Canberra Health Services have been fit tested.

Calvary Public Hospital Bruce commenced fit testing in February 2021—CHS commenced in November 2020—initially with one machine at Calvary and fit testing for critical medical specialties was prioritised. In April 2021 a second machine was acquired, which was shared with Calvary Private Hospital in Bruce. Currently the first machine has been sent for service and there is therefore one machine operational at the moment, and the total number of staff fit tested since the program started is 714.

As I said earlier, the wellbeing of our staff is of upmost importance and the ACT government continues to work very closely on the response to the culture review. Mrs Jones noted that some of that funding has been rolled over. COVID has had an impact on the implementation of some programs, but significant work is underway across Canberra Health Services, and ACT public health services more broadly, to address bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Speaking Up for Safety has commenced and there are staff trainers across both Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital. More than 4,000 Canberra Health Services staff have been trained in the program, to date. CHS is progressing with the implementation of the next phase of the cognitive institute program, promoting professional accountability.

We know there is more to do in this space. But we also know that Mrs Jones will cherry-pick out of the Medical Board of Australia’s medical training survey and other reports and not bother to inform the Assembly that in many instances these reports include improvements in workplace culture, which is not surprising given the focus and commitment to improve culture across the board. But we do need to do more and we will continue to do that.

Mrs Jones has also raised the matters of underpayment for JMOs. I previously provided a pretty comprehensive statement to the Assembly in relation to that, so I merely refer people to that. Mrs Jones also talked about the health workforce. I will briefly advise that CHS has increased its workforce overall by 12.3 per cent since 2017 to meet the increasing demand for quality health care. Alongside the clinical services plan, workforce planning is underway and will obviously continue as part of our work.


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