Minister petulant on Emergency Department Underperformance


The Health Minister accepted that she has failed her own test on wait times at Canberra’s Emergency Departments during Estimates hearings yesterday.

When pressed on her commitment to have 70 per cent of presentations at Emergency Departments in the ACT seen within four hours, and the Health Minister admitted that she would not meet the target printed in her own budget papers, Shadow Health Minister, Giulia Jones MLA, said today.

Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith also accepted that the budget documents tabled only two weeks ago have a target of 90% of presentations seen within four hours, but that she would not meet that target.

“Only the day after the budget documents were tabled, the Health Minister said in the Assembly that her 70% commitment was for the four hour measure, even though the target printed in the budget papers was 90%.

“More worrying, the outcome for 2020-21 under this Minister’s watch was a paltry 56% of patients in ED seen within four hours.

In today’s Assembly Estimates, the Health Minister was exasperated to be asked about her own commitment to have 70% of patients at ED seen within 4 hours; stating: “Oh, we are going to this again, are we?”

“Given that mental health presentations are only being seen within 4 hours 46% of the time, it is critical that the Minister

Today’s hearings also revealed that only 8 of the 20 recommendations of the Independent Culture Review into Workplace Culture have been implemented and the Minister admitted that the outcomes of the work on the culture have not yet been felt enough by staff on the ground.

“Meanwhile in the middle of a global pandemic Canberra Health Service confirmed it spent $50,000 on ‘rebranding’ the Canberra Health Service.

“I think we should be sorting out the bullying and harassment before we’re fixing the signage,” Mrs Jones concluded.