CENTRAL Gippsland Health staff will being given more time to participate in a review of the health service after concerns were raised about the process.
Following the appointment of law and workplace consultancy firm Justitia to conduct an independent review of CGH, staff were given just 24 hours to register to participate in interviews.
On Monday morning, hospital chief executive Frank Evans emailed a letter to staff inviting them to book appointments with the law firm within 24 hours.
“The information provided to Justitia during these interviews will remain confidential, in so far as is reasonably practicable,” the letter said.
But some staff were unable to respond while at work, and as all appointment times were fully-booked by 9am the next morning, were only given the option of being put on a waiting list.
One nurse told the Gippsland Times that staff were surprised they had such short notice for the interview process.
Another Gippsland resident who posted on Facebook said the process did not seem transparent, as was promised by the health service.
“I don’t think this can be deemed a very transparent process,” she said in her social media post.
In Dr Evans’ emailed invitation to participate in the review, he wrote that he was confident all staff would be given an opportunity to participate.
A spokeswoman for the health service said the review and interview process was being undertaken by DHS, “completely independent of CGH”.
This is despite the fact that details about the interviews, including venues and times, were issued in a letter signed by Dr Evans.
One of the interview sites is at CGH, and the letter states the health service will “facilitate arrangements for backfill where required to enable staff to participate in the review”.
The hospital spokesperson said that while the health service “supports” the review, the process was being dictated by the department of Health and Human Services.
The law firm was engaged by the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an independent review of systems and processes within CGH “to ensure a positive workplace culture”.
The review comes after reports in the media of complaints by staff of intimidation and a poor workplace culture.
CGH last week said it welcomed the review of the service’s “organisational culture”.
A CGH spokeswoman said the review would provide an opportunity to “validate our actions towards a positive workplace culture, as well as identifying further opportunities for improvement”.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien called on the state government to publicly release the review when it is complete.
Speaking in parliament this week, Mr O’Brien said it was important that the community had confidence “going forward” and that staff had the opportunity to have input.
“The hospital board and management assured me that there has been no downgrading [of hospital services], but the government must also commit to maintain or improve services at CGH,” he said.