CEO BREAKS HIS SI­LENCE ON DALBY HOS­PI­TAL

• Cul­ture check-up of hos­pi­tal launched • Se­cu­rity re­turns for staff and pa­tient safety • Nurse Steven Conn weighs in

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Sam Flana­gan Sam.Flana­gan@dal­by­her­ald.com.au

DAR­LING Downs Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice CEO Dr Peter Gil­lies has bro­ken his si­lence af­ter two months of tur­moil at the hos­pi­tal.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Dalby Her­ald ,Dr Gil­lies an­nounced a cul­tural re­view of the hos­pi­tal had been launched.

The “well­ness cul­ture check-up’’ will be con­ducted by a third party and is ex­pected to start within two weeks.

“I’ve done this in the past and it gives me a neu­tral opin­ion of what’s go­ing on,” Dr Gil­lies said.

“The third party keeps the names anony­mous so staff feel safe to speak up hon­estly.

“It’s up to the staff, if ev­ery­one wants to talk to this in­di­vid­ual then they will be pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to do that.”

The in­quiry into the hos­pi­tal’s cul­ture comes af­ter a num­ber of nurses con­tacted the Dalby Her­ald about a range of is­sues from safety to bul­ly­ing.

“Be­cause of the con­cerns that you’ve dis­cussed and I’ve dis­cussed, that’s what we’re go­ing to do (hold a well­ness cul­ture check-up) with Dalby to see if we can get to the bot­tom of things and get the staff feel­ing more com­fort­able,” Dr Gil­lies said.

He said af­ter the cul­ture check-up a re­port would be gen­er­ated with a series of rec­om­men­da­tions.

“In gen­eral we would in­sti­tute those rec­om­men­da­tions un­less there was some com­pelling rea­son not to,” he said.

“And if we weren’t go­ing to we’d look for an al­ter­na­tive that was ac­cept­able to all par­ties.”

When asked if the health ser­vice would ter­mi­nate the con­tract of any staff mem­ber found to be con­tribut­ing to a toxic cul­ture, Dr Gil­lies said “this is not that type of re­view” but ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion would be taken.

“This is a cul­tural check-up look­ing at the gen­eral cul­ture morale within the unit,” he said.

“If there are con­sis­tent staff re­ports about any staff mem­ber – man­age­ment or not – that raise con­cerns, then they are dealt with in the ap­pro­pri­ate per­for­mance man­age­ment pro­cesses.”

Dr Gil­lies would not be drawn when pressed on whether he be­lieved cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als in lead­er­ship po­si­tions at Dalby Hos­pi­tal had been ben­e­fi­cial or detri­men­tal.

“It’s not ap­pro­pri­ate to talk about in­di­vid­ual man­agers … I need an ob­jec­tive way of mon­i­tor­ing how things are run­ning,” he said.

“If any em­ployee, man­ager or oth­er­wise, is not be­hav­ing in ac­cor­dance with the val­ues (of the health ser­vice), then that’s dealt with through the ap­pro­pri­ate mech­a­nisms.”

For­mer nurses who spoke

anony­mously with the Dalby Her­ald al­leged staff turnover at the hos­pi­tal had been an is­sue for the past two years, and that a feel­ing of re­sent­ment on de­par­ture was com­mon.

Though Dr Gil­lies couldn’t con­firm staff turnover at the hos­pi­tal, he said it would be in­ves­ti­gated if it was iden­ti­fied as high in com­par­i­son to other health­care cen­tres.

“Staff turnover is one thing we do mon­i­tor, we also do exit in­ter­views of staff as a rou­tine.

“If you’re get­ting lots of staff re­port­ing the same kind of thing around that, well then ob­vi­ously you say, ‘Well wait a minute, there’s some­thing go­ing on here’.

“An in­crease in staff turnover would be a con­cern and we would look into that.”

Dr Gil­lies said the health ser­vice em­ployed more than 5500 peo­ple across 20 hospi­tals and 27 health­care fa­cil­i­ties, and staff wel­fare was a key fo­cus of the board.

“One of the things we in­sti­tuted nearly two years ago was a re­ally de­tailed staff sur­vey, which is what is called a ‘mes­sage in a bot­tle’.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity for any per­son to write to me anony­mously about any is­sue they’ve got in the health ser­vice.

“I re­ceived 1700 and I read ev­ery sin­gle one of them.

“I re­mem­ber the Dalby ones, there was a series of pos­i­tive com­ments about the direc­tor of nurs­ing, about how fair and how bal­anced she was.

“We re­peated it this year and it shows an im­prove­ment in the cul­ture of the Dalby Hos­pi­tal from the pre­vi­ous year … there were no red flags com­ing through from staff.”

Dr Gil­lies said de­spite a cul­tural re­view and re­ports of staff un­rest, Dalby Hos­pi­tal was a great place to be em­ployed.

“Dalby is a safe place to work, we have zero tol­er­ance for oc­cu­pa­tional vi­o­lence and we will con­tinue to work with the staff to en­hance se­cu­rity and train­ing.

“Safety of our staff and pa­tients is paramount.”

PHOTO: NEV MAD­SEN

HEALTH CHECK-UP: Dar­ling Downs Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice CEO Dr Peter Gil­lies and board chair­man Mike Ho­ran.

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