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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1536 ..

Thirdly, there are the concerns of clinical staff at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children about maternity services, including overcrowding, bullying, lack of resources, and poor management. According to patients and midwives, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children has overcrowding, bullying, lack of resources and poor management. The staff themselves claim lives are being put at risk by chronic understaffing, delaying of procedures and under-resourcing. Mothers have told of their horror birth stories, often stemming from long delays to access their induction or other procedures. But according to the minister, they have got it wrong. She knows best. She knows we do not have problems, apparently. While she admits there are some governance issues within ACT Health that need to be addressed, when it comes to the management of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, apparently there is nothing to see.

That brings us to the next point about bullying. No wonder we have heard over and over again about a systemic culture of bullying in the hospital. It seems to me to be coming from the top, with this minister refusing to believe that there are issues, denying her own professional staff when they say there are problems. It is coming from the top and trickling down. No wonder it has been so intractable and difficult to change.

We have the announcement that the Health Directorate will be split into two directorates. That is a good way of avoiding criticism: “We’re going to split the department into two parts, and everything will be fine once we do that.” That does not make any sense whatsoever. You have to actually address the issues, not make administrative changes in the hope that smoke and mirrors will make people think everything is okay and something is being fixed. We have seen these types of tricks before in various public service changes.

The minister might be in denial, but the issues of poor leadership at ACT Health are all too apparent to the casual observer. The minister is taking advice from the senior bureaucrats. What they actually need to do is take note of the advice, of the concerns, of the complaints of our professional, caring and committed staff who are putting up with unreasonable daily pressures trying to deliver the best possible health outcomes while the hospital is lacking leadership from the top.

The minister is saying she denied there are ongoing tensions between midwives and management at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. Really? You can deny there are ongoing tensions? And today the minister is quoted as saying this action by the Canberra Liberals is nothing more than a cheap stunt. “My baby nearly died.” Is that a cheap stunt? “Concerned about my health and my baby’s health.” A cheap stunt? Really? How is that supporting our nurses, doctors, midwives, and other staff and patients with their enormous personal and professional commitment to the job? We must listen to these people at the front line, at the coalface, if you like.

The Greens have said they will not be supporting this motion today. Once again, they are actually part of the government. They are no longer an independent voice in this chamber. They are pretending to be a crossbench to those in the public but refusing to act as one in the chamber. Their vote today will indicate whether they believe the

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