ACT public health leaders unite to drive change in workplace culture

Released 08/03/2019

The ACT Health Directorate, Canberra Health Services and Calvary have today reaffirmed their commitment to improving workplace culture and staff engagement across the public health system.

The three organisations will work together in the days, weeks and months ahead to implement all recommendations of the final report of the Independent Review into the Workplace Culture within ACT Public Health Services and to drive cultural change.

The leaders see the release of the final report today as a turning point for the staff who work in our health services. The findings present the opportunity for the territory’s public health system to acknowledge the serious cultural issues within its workplaces and to move forward together.

ACT Health Directorate Director-General Michael De’Ath said there would be territory-wide response to the report and this work would build on the progress already made over the past 12 months to improve workforce culture.

“The Independent Review has been important for our public health system and for the staff who work in our health services,” Mr De’Ath said.

“Through this process we now have the opportunity to effect real change across the organisations and build the culture we want for our health system into the future.

“Through the governance processes that will be established, including the new Implementation Steering Group and Team, we will work together to ensure every recommendation is implemented and that these changes are meaningful. We will also ensure staff are appropriately engaged in the process.

“We thank everyone who has participated and provided submissions, especially our staff, who shared their experiences with honesty and candidness.”

Canberra Health Services CEO Bernadette McDonald said the review had provided an invaluable opportunity for staff to speak up at a time when the new organisation was working collaboratively to finalise its organisational structure and develop its vision, role and behaviours.

Considerable work to address issues raised in the report was already well underway, including the development and delivery of training courses for staff, the institution of an Occupational Violence working group and the introduction of an Employee Advocate role.

“We’ve been working since I joined the organisation last October on our systems and processes to make it safe for staff to speak up, to ensure that managers listen and respond with empathy, but also take action where it’s needed,” Ms McDonald said.

“Our staff are encouraged to treat their colleagues with the same care and respect that they provide to hospital and clinic patients.

“It’s about working together to build the trust not only in the leadership but with each other.”

Regional Chief Executive Officer of Calvary ACT Barbara Reid said that “progress had already been made with the rollout of an improved reporting system that enables any staff to staff issues – including poor conduct – to be confidentially reported for appropriate and timely intervention”.

“We plan a substantial increase in training and skills development for our leadership and management team, that will assist them to develop more positive workplaces, increase employee engagement and effectively resolve issues that impact on workplace culture and employee satisfaction”.

“Most valuably, the Independent Review has brought workplace culture considerations to the fore, and our people are discussing these issues openly and with a determination that everyone has a part to play in building and maintaining a healthy workplace culture,” Ms Reid said.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

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