Michael Inman August 12, 2012
A.C.T. HEALTH has lost the immediate services of another two senior employees, with Canberra Hospital's general manager on indefinite health leave and a nursing director resigning.
But Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has denied ACT Health was in crisis.
Hospital general manager Lee Martin is on extended sick leave, with the length of his absence to be determined by medical advice.
The executive director of nursing and midwifery at Canberra Hospital and Health, Susan Aitkenhead, tendered her resignation after only months in the job. She will return to England citing family reasons.
It adds to the departure of Canberra Hospital executive director of critical care, Kate Jackson, who quit after she admitted in April to tampering with emergency department waiting time statistics.
Ms Gallagher said the departures and illness of senior staff would not cause a crisis in the delivery of healthcare in the capital.
''The Canberra Hospital is staffed by a highly experienced team across the hospital,'' she said. ''The hospital continues to operate and provide high-quality health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.''
The hospital was recently rocked by the data doctoring scandal, where patient records between 2009 and 2012 were changed in an effort to make the department's performance on waiting times look better.
An ACT Auditor-General's report found that managerial pressure was placed on Ms Jackson to improve the performance of the emergency department. The Sunday Canberra Times does not suggest Ms Aitkenhead or Mr Martin were involved in tampering with data or pressuring staff or Ms Jackson.
Ms Jackson said she had acted to protect herself and the staff she worked with.
Ms Jackson claimed full responsibility for the modifications, but ACT Auditor-General Maxine Cooper and her team believe it was highly probable that other staff members might have made changes to patient information.
But poor-quality record keeping made it almost impossible to identify other culprits. The report cleared Ms Gallagher and senior health managers of placing any direct or indirect pressure on Ms Jackson to deliberately manipulate hospital records.