C.24 ACT Women’s Plan

Economic priority

Strategic outcome

Women and girls equally and fully participate in and benefit from the ACT economy.

Priority areas

  • responsive education, training and lifelong learning
  • flexible workplaces
  • economic independence and opportunities
  • leadership and decision making

Indicators of progress

Evidence of:

  • education and training pathways for women and girls
  • increased opportunities for the advancement of women in the workforce
  • increased economic leadership and decision-making opportunities for women and girls
  • improved financial equity.

Seventy-six per cent of the 6540 staff employed by ACT Health are female. The range of educational, leadership and other opportunities offered by the directorate and set out below is available to all staff.

Study assistance is available to ACT Health staff to access programs of study to meet their training and development needs. The program assists employees to undertake external study leading to a qualification related to their employment by providing discretionary access to paid study leave and/or financial assistance.

ACT Health provides access to flexible working arrangements to support a healthy work–life balance. These arrangements include generous maternity leave provisions and access to part-time work after maternity leave. Breastfeeding mothers are supported through paid lactation breaks.

The Leadership Network is a collaborative initiative to capitalise on the talent and experience of ACT Health employees. Summit workshops are held three times a year in addition to project group work across divisions, leading to significant networking and development opportunities.

The directorate offers the following scholarships for staff:

  • Allied Health Postgraduate Scholarships
  • Allied Health Undergraduate Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enrolled Nursing Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Post-Registration Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Jennifer James Honours Degree Memorial Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Joanna Briggs Clinical Fellowship Scholarships
  • Nursing and Midwifery Student Clinical Placements
  • Personal Classification Level 2—Career Advancement.

The ACT Health Loan Scheme for Tertiary Study (LSTS) is available for all staff to support advanced payment of fees for tertiary education. The purpose is to promote a positive learning organisation environment that increases the knowledge and skill levels of staff.

Social priority

Strategic outcome

Women and girls equally and fully participate in sustaining their families and communities and enjoy community inclusion and wellbeing.

Priority areas

  • safe and respectful relationships
  • good health and wellbeing
  • safe and accessible housing

Indicators of progress

Evidence of:

  • recognition of women and girls’ contributions to the community
  • increased community leadership and decision-making opportunities for women and girls
  • affordable and accessible gender and culturally sensitive services
  • pathways for women experiencing disadvantage, social exclusion and isolation
  • addressing violence against women and their children and protection and support for victims.

The Women’s Health Service provided 40 per cent of well women’s clinics to culturally and linguistically diverse women, exceeding the target of 30 per cent.

The BreastScreen program provides free breast screening services to all women in the ACT aged over 40. Work has occurred to develop and produce general breast screening information brochures in Chinese, Vietnamese, Croatian, Greek, Italian and Spanish. In 2012‑13, 767 CALD women (5.5 per cent of all clients) accessed the ACT BreastScreen service.

ACT Health is implementing Element 2 of the Council of Australian Governments’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Development National Partnership Agreement’s antenatal care, pre-pregnancy and teenage sexual and reproductive health project. This includes implementing the Core of Life reality-based education program for young people on pregnancy and parenting and supporting sexual health information and education activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

ACT Health funds the Women’s Centre for Health Matters, which provides support to conduct research related to women experiencing disadvantage, social exclusion and isolation—for example, Women with Disabilities ACT and the Women and Prisons Group.

Karralika Programs Inc. supports adults and their families through a range of alcohol and drug programs. Karralika offers access to subsidised childcare for parents undertaking their programs from Communities@Work. The arrangement with Communities@Work was established a number of years ago, when Karralika Programs Inc. ceased to provide childcare internally. ACT Health is actively looking at opportunities to improve access to subsidised childcare for parents undertaking drug treatment programs in the ACT.

The Women’s Health Service gives priority to women who experience significant barriers to health service access.

The ACT Healthcare Survey includes a section on results by gender. The questions cover being treated with respect, respect for privacy, respect for cultural, social or religious needs, personal safety, and ease of access to consumer information. Survey results guide service improvement.

Canberra Hospital and Health Services participated in a benchmarking study for inpatients through Best Practice Australia in February 2013. The two separate surveys measured information related to the new National Safety and Quality Standards and asked a series of questions related to patient experience, including patients’ greatest expectations and how they rate those expectations.

ACT Health is making consistent progress towards the agreed milestones of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI). Progress and improvements against all outputs in the implementation plan are on track, with no significant risks or issues emerging. ACT NPDI activities continue to support maternity services, including the community-based Maternal and Child Health Service, the Antenatal Clinic, Continuum of Care at the Canberra Hospital, the Canberra Midwifery Program at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, Canberra Hospital, the Calvary Health Care Maternity Unit, Mental Health Services and related non-government services.

ACT Health also funds the Pre- and Ante-natal Depression Support and Information Service (PANDSI) to provide psychosocial support and information for women at risk of perinatal depression.

The Perinatal Mental Health Consultation Service (PMHCS) is a consultation and referral service for women with moderate to severe mental health presentations in the perinatal period. The PMHCS is a tertiary service that provides specialist opinion and treatment planning for expectant and postnatal women for up to 12 months postpartum. The service aims to improve perinatal mental health by working in collaboration with existing antenatal and postnatal services and other community health agencies. Psychiatry clinics, staffed by a multidisciplinary health professional team, provide structured therapies for women likely to benefit from a time-limited psychological approach.

PMHCS has implemented an Outreach Assessment Clinic linked to the Antenatal Clinic at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, Canberra Hospital. A PMHCS health specialist provides assessments for referred women who are unlikely to engage over the telephone or attend the PMHCS. This initiative also serves to strengthen the skills and knowledge of midwives at the clinic in perinatal mental health issues.

Trauma-informed care seminars for health professionals: The Women’s Health Service provides interprofessional and holistic medical, nursing and counselling services for women affected by violence.

The ACT Health Family Violence policy was developed for implementation in 2013‑14.

Environmental priority

Strategic outcome

Women and girls equally and fully participate in planning and sharing a safe, accessible and sustainable city.

Nil response from ACT Health.

Improving women’s access to health care services and information: A strategic framework 2010–2015

Improving women’s access to health care services and information: A strategic framework 2010–2015 informs the directions for the delivery of health services to ACT women up to 2015. Improving women’s access to health care services and information benefits not only women but also the whole community through the diverse roles that women play. For disadvantaged and vulnerable women, improving access to health services is a significant contributor to improved health outcomes. The Women’s Health Advisory Group, which comprises key community and consumer members, oversees implementation of the framework.

Highlights in 2012‑13 are set out below.

  • ACT Health is implementing triple bottom line annual reporting, including, where appropriate, gender impact statements.
  • The national Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website is being enhanced and will include ACT-specific links to maternity information.
  • The ACT Maternity Services Advisory Network is guiding the implementation of action in the national Maternity Services Plan and advising on priorities and improvements to maternity care in the region.
  • The Centenary Hospital for Women and Children opened in 2012. The new hospital co-locates services, including paediatrics, maternity services, the neonatal intensive care unit, gynaecology, foetal medicine,

the birth centre and specialised outpatient services, in a purpose-built three-storey building.

  • Antenatal care, pre-pregnancy and teenage sexual and reproductive health (APTSRH) project: the Core of Life realities-based life education program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth is well established across the ACT. Negotiations are underway to offer sexual health information, education and clinical services to young people in the coming year.
  • National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI): ACT Health services continue to offer routine and universal screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for PND at antenatal and postnatal visits.
  • In September 2012, ACT Health achieved Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace accreditation.