When midwives say people could die because of the "burnout" from overwork, they have to be taken seriously.
Those complaining are right on the front line of the health system. They witness its strengths and weaknesses hour by hour and day by day.
More than a dozen nurses and midwives told The Canberra Times of what they saw as chronic understaffing which was affecting the care of patients. And remember: the patients they care for include the very youngest Canberrans of all. One said: "I cannot stress enough that the lack of staffing is at a crisis point. We're seeing more haemorrhages, more drastic events."
Another said: "Every shift you go in and you just think, 'Is today the day where something really bad is going to happen'?"
And of midwives at the start of their career, one said: "They're drowning and we're drowning."
Midwives also said issues continued to plague the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.
"It's toxic, it's utterly toxic," one said.
This is strong stuff. It is vitally important the ACT government finds out what is going on. It is not as though the complaints are new. Midwives raised the alarm about conditions within the Centenary Hospital more than four years ago.
It is very hard to know the truth from the outside. What is absolutely clear is that the work atmosphere in parts of the health system is bad.
There may be little that the government can do.
After all, it didn't create the pandemic which has put such a burden on health professionals, not least because so many of them contracted COVID in the line of duty.
And the government has to allocate scarce resources. It may be that whatever midwives feel about their own area, other parts of the system need fixing first.
But low morale is a problem in itself. When a culture of discontent sets in, it is very hard to remove.
The ACT government needs to address the problem urgently. That means talking to the staff to find out what they perceive the problems to be.
It may be that an outsider should be brought in to do that.
But there needs to be improvement. After all, the people at risk are Canberra's newest citizens.
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