Canberra Hospital suffers ‘chronic’ staff shortages

AN external review into Canberra’s mental health services highlighted chronic staff shortages in the Adult Mental Health Unit at Canberra Hospital, says Shadow Minister for Health Vicki Dunne. 

Shadow Minister for Health Vicki Dunne.

Which, Ms Dunne says, is only underscored by increasing demand for mental health services.

“The toxic working culture only compounds the problem,” she says.

“There is only one full-time equivalent permanent psychiatrist in the unit.”

And, Ms Dunne says from March 5 to April 30, 100 per cent of psychiatric services were provided by locums, which means a person who stands in temporarily for someone else. 

“Canberra’s growing number of mental health patients must be treated by specialised professionals who know and understand Canberra,” she says. 

“I have no doubt that the infamous culture of bullying and intimidation in the health system has made Canberra an unattractive destination for health professionals.

“Specialists have told me that they struggle to recruit practitioners because of the toxic working culture in Canberra.

“It will be difficult for Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury to recruit and retain desperately needed mental health specialists while bullying in the system persists.    

“Mr Rattenbury must also explain why the budget for the Adult Mental Health Unit has been cut by nine per cent over two years.”

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