ACT News


ACT Health to stick with new chiefs after scandal

Changes to the top ranks at ACT Health made in the ''volatile'' wake of last year's data doctoring scandal look set to be made permanent.

And Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has confirmed that the Canberra Hospital's chief executive during the crisis has resigned and left the country.

Former Justice and Community Safety (JACS) No. 2 Stephen Goggs has taken over the administrative side of the Health Directorate on an acting basis, while Ian Thompson will continue to be the hospital's chief executive.

Dr Peggy Brown will continue to be the director general of the department, with both men holding the official roles of deputy director-general of the ACT Health Directorate, Mr Goggs on an acting basis until the recruitment process concludes in February.

But Lee Martin, who was the deputy director-general in charge of Canberra Hospital when the data tampering storm engulfed the institution, has resigned and returned to his native England.

The confession of a senior hospital executive in April 2012 that she had tampered with the record of up to 11700 emergency department patients to make the ED's performance look better sparked months of political headaches for the ACT government.


Ms Gallagher said on Thursday that the roles of the deputy directors-general were devised during the general shake-up of the ACT public service in May 2011.

''In the restructure of 18 months ago, Peggy Brown appointed two deputy chief executives, which I was very supportive of,'' the Chief Minister said. ''That's because there are two sides to the business - there's the hospital and all that comes with it, and then you need a deputy for the other side of things. Lee ran the hospital and Ian did the other side.''

But in the wake of the scandal, with Mr Lee on extended sick leave, Ms Gallagher said she drafted Mr Thompson into the hospital role for his ''steadying influence''.

''It was the lead-up to the election, very volatile, very charged and everybody was very stressed,'' she said.

''With all the issues in the ED, I asked for Ian to go to the hospital because he has worked in health for a long time and I wanted his steadying influence, and I think he's done exactly what I've asked of him.

''The hospital is a unique workplace; it's parochial, they look after each other, but they're always under the gun, both politically and in terms of the work demands that are placed on them.''

Mr Goggs, who won much respect in several years as second in command of the difficult JACS department, brought a different set of skills to the health system, according to Ms Gallagher.


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