While the ACT Health system is in the midst of its worst crisis in history, Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris is hosting lavish leadership lunches, Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.
In a response to a Question on Notice, Ms Fitzharris confirmed she spent almost $24,000 to host a lunch for 139 health leaders at the National Museum on August 14, 2018. Of this, $9,500 was spent on a key note speaker.
“This is money that would have been diverted from frontline health resources,” Mrs Dunne said.
“At a time when doctors, nurses and specialised health professionals are overworked and in short supply, and our hospital infrastructure is decaying; this is an unjustifiable expense that shows a real lack of understanding to what nurses, doctors and hospital staff are going through.
“We have heard harrowing stories of bullying, harassment and intimidation in the health system. We know that suicides and attempted suicides are being investigated, and patient safety has been put at risk.
“At this stage I don’t know what else needs to happen for Ms Fitzharris to understand the human cost of the toxic workplace culture which she leads.
“The government continues to shut down unified calls for a judicial inquiry with the powers of a royal commission into the health system.
“Ms Fitzharris and Chief Minister Andrew Barr keep saying that we can’t afford a board of inquiry, yet they will spare no cost to host a lavish luncheon.
“I am very concerned at how out of touch this government has become,” Mrs Dunne concluded.