Page 3786 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015

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understand to a point the approach to date and also genuinely appreciate that quite rightly Health has been under great scrutiny from members of the Assembly, local oversight groups such as the Auditor-General and the Health Services Commissioner and the various accreditation bodies and that these processes must be given the respect they deserve in terms of identifying issues and offering recommendations to resolve them.

I also appreciate that in June this year following a range of discussions in relation to structure, governance, leadership and behaviours of doctors at the Canberra Hospital and health services the Minister for Health engaged KPMG to examine what has been going on more generally and to take a systemic look at the situation. This review had broad terms of reference and found that there are indeed cultural factors alongside more process oriented areas that need change.

The review also found that unfortunately these factors have similarities in other medical environments around the country that seem to accept or even condone some bullying behaviours. Noting as I have that there have been some concerns about the culture in the hospital for some time and that the findings are perhaps no major surprise I believe that the government has heard these concerns and recommitted to improving the system.

In September the Minister for Health publically released the review into the clinical training culture at Canberra Hospital, accepted all of its recommendations and announced the establishment of a leadership group of clinical staff within the Canberra Hospital and health services to lead the necessary cultural transformation. As Minister Corbell said at the time, and I agree:

It is deeply disappointing to find that poor behaviours such as bullying, inappropriate interpersonal relationships and emotional intimidation have been allowed to persist for so long among some senior staff within our largest and most important health teaching facility.

Even more concerning was that these behaviours were prolonged and normalised, and that some junior staff feel they are not sufficiently empowered to speak up, nor that there were appropriate mechanisms in place for them to do so.

I quote the minister here to illustrate that from my reading of the situation the minister has, on behalf of the government, fully recognised that it is not simply one unit here or one speciality area that requires a shake-up and that there is a more deeply embedded cultural problem that will require a dedicated strategic and long-term approach to solve.

It is on some trust that I take both the Minister for Health and the director-general at their word that this has started immediately. I think it is important to remember that the first step to dealing with a problem is admitting you have one, and it is clear from the very public discourse that the government recognises that there is indeed a systemic problem here. It also for these reasons that I will support Mr Corbell’s amendment today as I note a more conciliatory tone in these health debates that carries with it acknowledgement that not all is perfect but that real work is happening to improve matters.

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