The Canberra Liberals have predicted more resignations of senior people at ACT Health who are ‘at the end of their tether’.
Health spokesperson Vicki Dunne said the resignation of the Chief Medical Officer Jeffrey Fletcher after only 20 months in the job was just the last in a long litany of people who were abandoning ACT Health.
“These are the public ones we know of. I have been informed of probably over half a dozen high-level executives who have left – sometimes without any warning at all, leaving their staff wondering where they’ve gone on – or are planning to leave,” she said.
“It is a symptom of the lack of faith and confidence that senior medical officers have in the whole system. And that means a lack of leadership all the way up to the Minister [Meegan Fitzharris].
An ACT Health spokesperson confirmed that Dr Fletcher had resigned and that a recruitment process to appoint a new CMO would commence as soon as possible.
“The CMO will be finishing with Health in late November. Arrangements for an interim occupant will be put in place at that time. ACT Health wishes Dr Fletcher all the best in his future endeavours,” the spokesperson said.
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Dr Fletcher is also a senior staff specialist at Canberra Hospital.
His resignation comes after a number of high-profile departures at ACT Health, including the resignation of director general Nicole Feely in March and the new CEO of Canberra Health Services Janet Anderson only three days after she was appointed in August.
According to media reports, Dr Fletcher emailed colleagues on Monday saying he did not have a job to go to and would be looking for roles outside of Canberra.
Mrs Dunne said it was clear that Dr Fletcher had come to the end of his tether, and that the resignation was a loss for Canberra.
She said the resignation and the uncertainty around the siting of the planned $500 million Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre showed the splitting of ACT Health initiated by the Minister was not working.
“I won’t be surprised at more resignations from high-level people in ACT Health,” Mrs Dunne said.
Ms Fitzharris would not comment on Dr Fletcher’s resignation.