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New Canberra health heads announced as troubled system splits into two

By Glynis Quinlan 3 September 2018 1

From left to right: New Health Directorate director-general, Michael De’Ath, ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris, new Canberra Hospital chief executive officer Janet Anderson and ACT Minister for Mental Health, Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT’s troubled health system will be split into two next month with the heads of each organisation announced today and the ACT Government banking on the change helping to resolve the problems that have plagued it in recent times.

Following a nationwide recruitment process, the coordinator of the Northern Territory Government’s response to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children, Janet Anderson, has been appointed chief executive officer of Canberra Hospital and will focus on the delivery of health services.

Heading up the strategic policy and planning side of things will be Michael De’Ath, who has been appointed director-general of the Health Directorate. Mr De’Ath has been interim director-general for the past four months following Nicole Feely’s resignation in March.

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said that ACT Health will be split into two distinct organisations on October 1, bringing the ACT into line with other jurisdictions.

Ms Fitzharris said that Mr De’Ath and Ms Anderson will be tasked with working collaboratively to improve the ACT’s health system.

Late last month, Canberra Hospital was re-accredited for a further three years after action was taken to remedy dozens of shortcomings identified by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards earlier in the year.

There have also been strong concerns raised about the resourcing and staffing of the hospital’s maternity services.

“Things don’t change overnight in a big system but we are making progress on many counts,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“As our city grows, as our community ages and as more challenges and opportunities emerge in healthcare delivery, we must make sure we have the most contemporary governance structures here in the ACT.

“These two key leadership positions are incredibly important. Mr De’Ath and Ms Anderson will head up two organisations committed to keeping our community healthy through person-centred care, quality, innovation, engagement and accountability,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“They will play key roles in sustaining a positive and committed organisational culture. And they will both have vital positions as partners with our higher education sector to collaborate in health and medical research and support teaching and training of our future health workforce.”

Both Mr De’Ath and Ms Anderson have experience in health jurisdictions across Australia, working as senior managers responsible for key policy development and service delivery.

“Under their strong leadership I am confident our public health system will deliver the best possible care to Canberrans so that we continue to be the healthiest Australians,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Ms Anderson comes to ACT Health following an extensive senior management career across the Commonwealth Public Service and experience working in a number of jurisdictional services, on health systems, health policy development and reform.

“Mr De’Ath has already demonstrated a strong track record for leadership of ACT Health and Michael’s senior, public sector experience from across Australia and New Zealand stands him in good stead for this important role.

“I know they are both looking forward to working with the skilled and committed ACT Health workforce, and working collaboratively with our important partners across the ACT’s health system and with the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.”

Both Mr De’Ath and Ms Anderson will begin their new roles on October 1.

Background of new director-general

Mr De’Ath was previously the director-general of the Community Services Directorate and has held deputy secretary roles in several Victoria Government departments, including the Department of Health and Human Services.

In these roles, Mr De’Ath was responsible for health funding and performance, child protection, disability services, public housing and youth justice.

Mr De’Ath has a Bachelor of Education, Masters in Education Administration, First Class Honours both from Massey University and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from ANZSOG.

Background of new chief executive officer

Prior to her current role with the Northern Territory Reform Management Office, Ms Anderson held several executive roles in the Northern Territory Department of Health with responsibility for health policy development, clinical services planning and delivery.

Ms Anderson has also held several senior positions in the Federal and NSW Governments and was Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Health at the University of Technology Sydney.

Ms Anderson has a Bachelor of Health Administration, First Class Honours from the University of NSW. She was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2009 and she is an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management.

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New Canberra health heads announced as troubled system splits into two
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g210 12:11 pm 04 Sep 18

Yeah, throw another few tens of millions of dollars at Admin. That’ll fix it. Now where’s my chequebook…

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