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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 635 ..

on people’s work performance. Now, if bullying is occurring—and it certainly seems that the allegations point to that situation—and if, as Ms Gallagher asserts, there has been a 10-year war occurring in various obstetrics units within the territory and between obstetricians, it is difficult for me to envisage how such a culture, how such systemic problems and how such cultural bullying could then, in turn, not lead to a significantly increased risk of negative medical outcomes. I think that that is a very reasonable—

Ms Gallagher: Well, check the data, Jeremy, and you’ll see that you’re wrong.

MR HANSON: The problem with data is that it is statistical analysis that will show you statistical outcomes. It is very difficult to interpret from statistical outcomes whether, as a result of the bullying and as a result of the culture in the workplace, there have been incidents of negative clinical outcomes. I cannot simply look at a set of outcomes, a set of statistics, to determine whether that is the case or not.

What are the reasons for any negative events that have occurred? Without question, there will have been negative outcomes. I accept that in any practice of medicine, in any practice of surgery, there will be negative outcomes that occur, and often for very legitimate, unexpected, unforeseeable and unpreventable reasons. But what we are concerned about here are negative outcomes that have occurred that could have otherwise been prevented if you did not have that workplace problem and making sure that that is not the case going into the future.

I am concerned about the clinical outcomes not because I question the ability of the doctors or midwives or their levels of training and standards; it is about that negative culture. I think Ms Bresnan made the point well with regard to the effect that it has on people’s ability to do their jobs.

An inquiry under the act would be more broad. I have said in my motion that it would not simply be legal staff, as Ms Gallagher asserted. I have set down that it would contain a clinician, a health administrator and someone with legal standing. But a board could comprise people with skills complementary to that also.

With reference to the specific amendment, which we will not be supporting, we argue to see the terms of reference. That is of concern to me. I would ask that the minister consult with the opposition and with the Greens on this sensitive matter—as I understand it, the Greens will be supporting it—to make sure that those terms of reference are not cause for further dispute and allegations and denials that there is a problem or that it has been responded to effectively. It would be a very useful process, minister, if you were to consult with us on that process, and that the report, when it is finally completed, were to be provided to members of the Assembly. I am sure we would all grant the minister leave to respond to those issues.

The amendment proposed by Ms Gallagher at paragraph 1(c) notes that it will include whether there are broader systemic issues which should be considered. That is something that does have appeal to me. But my concern then again is what that actually means in terms of the terms of reference. Is she talking about investigating obstetrics more broadly or is she saying no? If there are management cultures in the

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