Culture Review

The ACT Government is holding an Independent Review into the workplace culture within ACT public health services.

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The ACT Government is holding an Independent Review into the workplace culture within ACT public health services.

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris issued a statement on workplace culture on Monday 10 September 2018, which included several new initiatives designed to build on the work that has already been undertaken to improve the culture within the ACT public health system.

The Terms of Reference, released on 21 September 2018, will examine workplace culture issues across our public health system, so that they can be appropriately addressed in a meaningful way. 

The Review will be conducted so as to protect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals.

The Review will look into claims made in relation to inappropriate conduct and behaviours, examine and report on existing workforce policies and complaints management practices, and provide clear recommendations for further improving workforce culture and support systems for staff and management. 

An Independent Panel has been appointed to conduct the Review. The Independent Panel, appointed by the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, is a three member panel.

Panel members are:

  • Mr Mick Reid (Chair)
  • Ms Fiona Brew; and
  • Professor David Watters.

Biographies for Panel members can be found below

The Review Panel has been asked to provide the Minister for Health and Wellbeing with an interim report by 31 January 2019, and a final report is required to be provided to the Minister by 30 March 2019.  These reports will be publicly released.

Panel Members will develop business rules to inform and support the independent and confidential nature of the Review including processes for the protection of confidential information and the identity of individuals as required and in accordance with law.

The Terms of Reference provide further information on purpose, scope and arrangements of the Review. A copy can be found below.

The Independent Panel will make a call for submissions from 15 October 2018.

Secretariat support is also currently being established for the Independent Review. These staff will be drawn from across the ACT and Commonwealth Public Service so that ACT health staff can be confident in the integrity and independence of the process.   Secretariat staff will at all times be bound by their obligations and duties as public servants in relation to the treatment of information related to the Review, including:

This webpage will be updated with further information in relation to the Review, as the information becomes available.

Review Panel Professional Biographies

Mr Mick Reid (Chair)

Mick Reid has undertaken many roles in the Australian health system during a career that spans four decades. His experience includes bureaucrat, consultant and academic giving him a breadth of experience and depth of knowledge of the Australian health care system.

Mr Reid was Director General of Health in two States. For five years until 2002, he held the position of Director General of New South Wales Health. More recently, until 2011, he spent three years as Director General of Queensland Health.

When not engaged in the public sector, Mr Reid is Principal of his consulting company, Michael Reid & Associates, which has undertaken health and science projects throughout Australasia, for governments in Asian, and the Pacific and with UN organisations.

Broad areas of consultation have related to macro health systems development and evaluation, health workforce reform, clinical engagement, services planning, indigenous health, coordination and translation of health and science research, and performance analysis. He provides mentoring services to many people engaged in senior positions within the health sector.

Mr Reid holds an Adjunct Professorships in both the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney and the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney and is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing.   In 2011, he was awarded the AHHA Sidney Sax Medal for contributions to Australian Health Services.

Ms Fiona Brew (Member)

Fiona Brew has a nursing background.  She is a senior health executive with more than 10 years experience managing public health services and aged care in various senior roles.

Ms Brew is a values based leader and an expert in reforming culture in health services and also has the respect and regard of the nursing profession, and has high personal integrity.

With a long-standing passion for governance, service improvement and hospital performance, she applies her knowledge through service redesign, models of care and health infomatics to achieve improvements. She is a passionate advocate of education for health professionals and workforce innovation to meet the changing needs of the health environment. In her current role People and Culture are her focus.

With a background in regional health, she is an advocate for strong partnerships and collaboration in meeting the health needs of all clients. 

Ms Brew understands the complex relationship with VMOs and other staff who are not permanently based or employed, and how the nursing culture can positively or negatively affect that and patient outcomes.

Ms Brew has been acting in a number of health service CEO roles, focussing on improved governance and culture making significant changes, to improve safety in clinical delivery.

Professor David Watters AM (Member)

David Watters was President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), from 2015 to 2016.  During this time, RACS established an Expert Advisory Group to combat bullying, harassment and discrimination in the health sector.  This included looking at how RACS could lead the elimination of bullying and harassment from hospitals and health departments.

Professor Watters has a strong interest in workplace culture and professionalism issues across the health sector.

Professor Watters is Professor of Surgery at Deakin University working at Barwon Health and the University Hospital Geelong. 

Professor Watters chairs the Safety and Quality Committee for the surgical and critical care program at Barwon Health and is a member of the Board Safety and Quality committee.  He is a general surgeon with interests in general, colorectal and endocrine surgery, actively engaged in advocating for global surgery after spending almost 20 years working in many developing countries prior to migrating to Australia in 2000.

He is an Edinburgh University graduate with over 150 peer reviewed publications and six books including Stitches in Time - Two centuries of Surgery in Papua New Guinea (PNG) (Xlibris, 2012) and the recently published Anzac Surgeons of Gallipoli (RACS 2015).

In addition to the FRACS, David is a fellow of the Edinburgh, Hong Kong, and East Central and Southern Africa Colleges of Surgeons and was awarded a Life Membership to the Medical Society of PNG (2017), the title of Alfred Deakin Professor (Aug 2016) and appointed Honorary Member of the Asian Surgical Association (2015).

In recognition of his contribution to surgery and surgical training in PNG he was awarded the OBE (2012) and Rotary's Paul Harris Fellowship (2000). He was recently awarded (Queen's Birthday June 2018) the AM for significant service to surgery and professional organisations.

Terms of Reference

Introduction

The Government has committed to hold an Independent Review into the workplace culture within ACT public health services. The Review will make clear recommendations to address specific issues that will improve workplace culture. The Minister for Health and Wellbeing will appoint a three member Independent Panel to conduct the Review.
The ACT Government invests significantly in the delivery of public health services to ensure safe, high quality healthcare for the ACT community and surrounding region. A positive workplace culture is vital to ensure our public healthcare system can deliver a high level of care to the community and can be an employer of choice for all health professions.

Improving workplace culture and staff engagement within our healthcare system has been a significant area of priority for the Government in delivering public healthcare to the ACT community. 

Notwithstanding the positive changes that are underway and the commitment to the values of the organisation; care, excellence, collaboration and integrity, demonstrated by the majority of staff, concerns continue to be raised that are of concern to the Government and the Canberra community. The Government reiterates that any behaviour that is not aligned with the values of ACT Health cannot continue.

ACT Health Transition

In March 2018, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing and the Minister for Mental Health announced that ACT Health would separate into two distinct organisations from 1 October 2018. Canberra Health Services will be focused on the delivery of healthcare services. The ACT Health Directorate will focus on strategic policy for the health system, territory-wide planning, research and population health.

This transition provides another opportunity to re-state the Government’s commitment to a positive workplace culture and consider further improvements for workplace culture, and policies and processes relating to workplace behaviours.

Terms of Reference

The Review will operate in accordance with the following Terms of Reference.

a)    Examine and report on the workplace culture of public health care services in the ACT and provide advice on any systemic and institutional issues. This examination should take into account any examples of best practice workplace culture and professional conduct in the delivery of public health care in the ACT, nationally and internationally.

b)    Examine any claims made in relation to inappropriate conduct and behaviours related to the delivery of public health care services in the ACT and provide advice on:

i. best practice responses to such complaints;

ii. whether referral of such complaints should be made to any other authority; and

iii. what support services should be provided to complainants.

c)    Examine and report on the existing workforce policies and complaints management practices to ensure their relevance and appropriateness in achieving satisfactory outcomes for all parties.

d)    Provide findings and recommendations for:

i. further improving workforce culture across the ACT public health system;

ii. additional support systems required for staff and management engaged in the delivery of public health services in the ACT, including processes, training and professional development.

The Review will consider earlier reports and reviews which have been developed/undertaken in relation to workplace culture within ACT Health, including but not limited to:

  • The KPMG Review into the Clinical Training Culture in ACT Health (2015)
  • The ACT Auditor General Report – ACT Health’s management of allegations of misconduct and complaints about inappropriate workplace behaviour (2018)
  • Report of the ACHS National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards Survey of ACT Health (2018)

Independent Panel Membership

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing will appoint a three member Independent Panel to conduct the Review, including a Chair and two other members, with subject matter experts invited as required. 

The Review may call upon other expertise as it considers necessary including from such fields as:

  • Clinical professions
  • Administrative and public sector leaders
  • Legal
  • Auditing
  • Restorative practice
  • Health profession education and training
  • Organisational culture and people expertise
  • Workplace industrial relations
  • Quality and safety of healthcare.

Conduct of Review and Privacy

The Review will be conducted so as to protect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals who make submissions and who may be the subject of complaints, and shall ensure procedural fairness is afforded to all persons and organisations participating in and subject to the Review.

The Independent Panel will determine how best to ensure confidentiality and privacy for any and all submissions and provide that advice clearly to individuals and organisations who wish to make submissions.

The Independent Panel will:

  1. undertake extensive engagement and consultation, and will seek input from relevant experts where necessary;  
  2. call for written submissions from 15 October 2018 and will invite persons or organisations to indicate if those submissions are being made confidentially;
  3. determine whether it wishes to hold public or private hearings, based on its considerations of confidentiality and privacy; and
  4. develop business rules to inform and support the independent and confidential nature of the Review including processes for the protection of confidential information and the identity of individuals as required and in accordance with law.

Face to face meetings should be held as necessary and as agreed by the Independent Panel.

Independent Panel members and experts will be appropriately remunerated in accordance with agreed terms and conditions.

Structure, Process and Timing

The Independent Panel will provide an Interim Report to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing by 31 January 2019. The Interim Report will provide an overview and analysis of the issues and concerns raised to date and make any preliminary recommendations.

The Independent Panel will provide a Final Report to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing by 30 March 2019.

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing will table the Interim and Final Reports in the ACT Legislative Assembly at the earliest opportunity, and thereafter publicly release both Reports. The Government will also table a response to the Final Report in the Assembly within three months and provide regular reports to update on progress against the recommendations.

The Independent Panel will determine if some material needs to be anonymised to protect individuals from harm, to the extent that it contains personal information or material provided in confidence.

Secretariat

The ACT Government will provide appropriate secretariat staff drawn from across the ACT and Commonwealth Public Service. The Secretariat will provide support for the Review and assist with the provision of documents and information for the Review as requested by Panel Members.

Secretariat staff will at all times be bound by their obligations and duties as public servants in relation to the treatment of information related to the Review.

Page last updated on: 15 Oct 2018