Page 2837 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2018

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Mr Rattenbury does say that he is concerned but he also made it perfectly clear to me that he was not hearing the stories that the opposition was hearing, and that is why I say that Mr Rattenbury, when he spoke about respectful pathways in this place, was speaking from ignorance. If he had been listening to the people in the way that the opposition has been listening and people felt confident to go to him in the way that they are starting to feel confident in coming to my office, he would know that there are not respectful pathways.

As I have said, the issue of culture is of paramount importance as far as I am concerned. The culture impacts on our ability to attract and retain staff, and this has a direct impact on patient care. I am very concerned at the number of people that I meet in my job as the shadow minister for health who actually say to me, “I regret coming to work for ACT Health. It was the worst career decision that I have made.” And it not an isolated thing. There are many people in ACT Health who are strategising their way out of ACT Health. That is an extraordinary problem for us all, that we will lose valuable people with great experience because the culture does not support proper health care.

I would like to look at a couple of case studies. In 2015 urology lost its accreditation as a training centre and it lost its accreditation for two years. The impacts that this would have had on the urologists in training are hard to quantify but they would have had to go somewhere, find another institution where they would have training. And this has resulted in a shortage of urologists in the ACT.

In February this year we heard about a disability pensioner who waited 1,700 days, or nearly five years, to see a specialist before she even got on an elective surgery waiting list. The impact that that had on that individual and the other individuals who are waiting for extended periods on the urology waiting list to access services that otherwise they cannot afford is catastrophic. That woman’s case was catastrophic, and they as a family had to resort to private health insurance or to have her looked at privately because they had no alternative.

The Labor Party federally is always very big on something that they had this sort of quote about during the mediscare election campaign: that the provision of medical services should rely on your Medicare card and not the size of your credit card. But somebody who has to wait 1,700 days even to see a government-provided specialist has to rely on their credit card. Everything that Labor says about health and the provision of health services goes out the door when we look at the hidden waiting list in the ACT health system, which is the time it takes to see a specialist in the public system, which is the entry point for getting you onto the extended elective surgery waiting list. There is a hidden waiting list, which was most exemplified by somebody who had to wait 1,700 days, or nearly five years, to see a medical specialist.

There have been, as I have said before, victims of bullying in the ACT health system. They are heartily offended by Minister Fitzharris saying a fortnight ago that a call for an inquiry was a political stunt. They do not think it is a political stunt, and the people who have written to me and have begged me not to give up just because the Labor Party and the Greens voted against this inquiry do not think that this is a political stunt.

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