ACT News

Canberra Hospital obstetrics and gynaecology chief resigns amid maternity unit problems

Canberra Hospital's head of obstetrics and gynaecology has quit the position after allegations of mismanagement and long-running cultural problems in the hospital's maternity unit became public. 

Steven Adair, the hospital's clinical director, obstetrics and gynaecology, has resigned from his position and is due to step down at the end of the year, ACT Health director-general Peggy Brown revealed on Friday. 

Dr Adair joined the department about four years ago in 2010, after 13 registrars resigned, complaints of bullying surfaced and a report into the maternity unit found serious shortcomings in staff management, clinical care and training. 

Dr Brown paid tribute to her colleague's work but conceded his resignation was linked to the recent allegations plaguing the hospital department. 

"You would have to say yes in as much as it is made at the same time as this has come out," Dr Brown said.

Dr Brown praised Dr Adair's "strong contribution to the overall improvements that we've seen in this unit since 2010".

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"He's worked very hard and he's made a number of improvements across the unit and has the strong support of his senior colleagues," she said. 

"I am aware there have been some criticisms around his management of the junior staff. Dr Adair has made a decision to step down as the clinical director. He's doing that at the end of the year and I would just thank him for the contribution he has made to this unit. I think he has done a very good job."  

Confirmation of Dr Adair's resignation came the same day as The Canberra Times revealed a leaked report warned mismanagement and long-running cultural problems inside the hospital's maternity unit have put the health of patients at serious risk. 

"As a result of the current negative environment, the unit is significantly at risk of both adverse medical outcomes and personal risk to the health and wellbeing of the registrars," the report said. 

Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher has publicly declared her support for Dr Brown and her directorate saying she was "150 per cent" confident the current issues could be resolved satisfactorily. 

ACT Health officials declined to the release the full report earlier this month and have launched an investigation into what it described as its alleged and unauthorised release. 


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