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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3039 ..

and will parental choice be the next victim? Parental choice is one of the key principles underlining any Canberra Liberals education policy, but it has no mention here. Indeed, as I have already emphasised, the role of parents also appears to be diminished. The Canberra Liberals look forward to what interpretation the minister applies to deliver the future of education strategy she outlined in the Assembly today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Ministerial statement

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.28): I am pleased to rise today, in response to a motion passed earlier this year, to talk about the high quality of public maternity and birthing services we have here in the ACT. As the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, I am extremely proud of the work our midwives, nurses, doctors and other staff do in our maternity wards at both Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and at Calvary Public Hospital. They are all highly motivated, committed people who work hard every day to ensure mothers and their families have the best care possible during an important time when they bringing a new little person into this world.

The ACT government committed $70 million in last year’s budget to expand the Centenary hospital to meet the growing needs of the local community and the demand for maternity services. Before I talk further about the work underway to transform and expand Canberra’s maternity services, I acknowledge the concerns raised earlier this year by some staff at the Centenary hospital.

I tabled the anonymous letter referred to in the motion on 9 May this year. I do not take these sorts of things lightly, and I acknowledge that the growing demand for maternity services has placed pressures on staff. Of course, we have to look after our staff as well as our patients, and ACT Health has been working with staff and their representatives to ensure they feel supported and their concerns are addressed appropriately. ACT Health investigate all issues that are raised by staff, whether it is a clinical issue, a safety concern or complaints about inappropriate behaviour. ACT Health make available a range of options to provide support to staff, including the employee assistance program, and ACT Health have at times brought in additional support to give staff another option to share their concerns and manage the demands of their jobs.

The concerns raised by this anonymous letter have been heard. ACT Health have since held forums to engage with staff over the issues raised, and it is important to recognise that all staff at Centenary, including those who wrote the letter, are caring people who want the very best for their patients. I hope they are proud to know that the vast majority of feedback I receive about Centenary is how wonderful the staff are and how great the care and service is. And with so many healthy babies born here every year, how can you not be proud of that? At the end of the day we are dealing with a service that is incredibly popular, with more and more women giving birth there every year.

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