Page 3780 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015

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Dr Hall, and the fact that the government has taken $41 million out of the long-term restructure of the hospital and put it into a shorter term fix of the ED. When you look at the chronic overcrowding that we have seen, which has meant there is a logjam in the ED, there is no argument, I would think, that there is a crisis there. A lot of that is through the demand. The government says it is unanticipated, but there is no doubt that demand has gone up. It does not mean we have not got a real problem there. That is not an excuse—it is in part the cause—but it is a real problem.

We saw reports on the ABC in January about staff surveys and the government’s refusal to release the staff surveys, again, for ACT Health. We saw in the City News a media report talking about accreditation not being met by the obstetricians and gynaecologists. There are Canberra Times reports where an audit found serious concerns about bullying and staffing arrangements and concerns that care could have been put at risk. The ABC on 27 March talked about an overcrowded ED and stressed staff. The ANMF president, Jenny Miragaya, said that the hospital had moved to code yellow status on multiple occasions—code yellow being internal disaster—and that “staff in the ED are under a huge amount of stress and strain because of this”. We have a report from the ABC on 16 April this year—“Canberra’s hospitals long way off first world health system”—which states:

Canberra’s hospitals are facing an impossible task to reach the level expected of a first world health system, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned.

There is a quote from the ACT branch of the AMA that the territory is still below the benchmark on all measures:

They’re targets that were set for being desirable of a first world country with a first world health system,” Dr Miller said. We set ourselves a task. We set ourselves a benchmark. We’re not meeting those.

Now, that is pretty concerning. Again, this is not the Canberra Liberals saying this. This is doctors saying this. This is nurses saying this. This is the government’s own report saying this. This is the minister saying this.

The ANMF, again, raised concerns about the number of subacute beds. The original plan was 200. It has been reduced down to 140. I have had occasion to bump into staff from the health system around the traps who are deeply embarrassed about this because it is a mockery. If the government had said, “We were going to have 200 beds and we’ve cut it; it’s 140 and we’re going to justify that,” then they could have had that debate. But they continued on with the facade, the fabrication, that there were actually going to be more beds. There were the desperate attempts by health staff to say, “The hydrotherapy pool is going to be counted as beds. The gym is going to be counted as beds. Consultation rooms are going to be counted as beds.”

There are professionals within our health system who have been humiliated by what this government did. They are appalled by what the minister did. Instead of making the case as to why he cut the 60 beds, the fabrication and the nonsense that he carried on with has caused humiliation at senior levels within ACT Health. That is the reality. I will not be indiscreet and give away the names of a number of the people who have

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