Not to the Medical Council, Minister or Health Department, so Where?
The Tasmanian Greens today called on Health Minister Lara Giddings to reveal who Tasmanian medical practitioners can go to when they believe the health and safety of their patients is at risk, following revelations that Dr Paul McGinity begged with the head of the Health Department to assist his patients during his recent suspension, but to no avail.
Greens Member for Bass, Kim Booth MP, said the Minister must take responsibility for the failure of the Health Department to take any action when notified about risks to the health and safety of thousands of patients across the North East region, and reveal what has been done to avoid any repeat of this situation.
Mr Booth also queried whether or not the Minister was informed by the head of her Department about Dr McGinity’s pleas on behalf of his patients, if so then why did she fail to act, and if not, why not?
“Dr McGinity begged the head of the Health Department to assist his patients during his recent suspension, but there was no response – so just who can Tasmanian medical practitioners turn to when they believe the health and safety of their patients is at risk,” said Mr Booth.
“The apparent failure of the Department to either advise the medical professionals whom to notify, and for the Minister not to be informed, is a very serious public health matter. This callous disregard for patient’s lives is an indictment on the Minister and her Department.”
“This is a very, very serious governance failure and the Ministers deliberate avoidance of my question in parliament today has only aggravated the situation.”
“Is the Minister even aware of this situation? If she is, what has she done about ensuring it never occurs again? And if she is not aware, why not?”
“Tasmanian medical practitioners need to know who to trust and where to go when they are concerned for their patients, and the Greens are calling on Minister Giddings to take responsibility for this situation and reveal the avenues available to Tasmanian Doctors who are concerned for their patients,” said Mr Booth.
Attached – text of question asked in Parliament today by Kim Booth MP:
Minister, on the 20th May 2009 in a recorded telephone call your Departmental head of Health Mr Dave Roberts was repeatedly informed by Dr McGinity and practice Manager Mrs McGinity that the health and safety of patients was at risk.
Minister were you informed by Mr Roberts of these concerns?, and I quote Dr McGinity:
“… I am going to tell you how things are critical in the north east. We’re running out of locums. GP Workforce cannot keep up the supply. We have closed the Derby surgery. Bridport surgery is running half time. There is no after hours service of any value in the northeast. GP Assist turns them off.”
And to quote practice manager Mrs McGinity:
“The patients are not being looked after well. Someone has to be told. I can’t tell the Medical Council. Who do I tell? The patients are suffering. They are not being looked after well. They are not keeping up their tablets, they are not coming to the surgery. It is not good what is happening.“
“You’ve got to understand, who do I tell? Do I tell Lara Giddings, who I do tell?”
Minister whom does a medical practitioner tell when the health and safety of patients is a risk when the Secretary of health will not listen nor advise them whom to tell?
Do you now accept responsibility for your department failing to respond to the risk to the lives of patients?
And finally Minister I repeat, were you advised by your secretary of health of the grave risk to the lives of patients?
If so, what action did you take and if not will you now immediately investigate what actions were taken by your department and advise the house?