Tasmanian Times

Health

‘Patients at risk’

BRETT WHITELEY

Back to square one for McGinity’s patients

KIM BOOTH

The Tasmanian Greens today in Parliament called on Health Minister Lara Giddings to ensure that a government Doctor is provided on a temporary basis to act as a locum for Dr Paul McGinity following the revelation that Dr McGinity’s North East practice will be required to close from Wednesday 1st of July if a locum cannot be found.

Brett Whiteley MP

Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services

Tuesday 30 June, 2009

Back to square one for McGinity’s patients

· Scottsdale, Bridport and Derby surgeries face closure tomorrow

· Contingency plans promised by Health Minister fail to materialise

· 3,000 patients and 8 surgery staff affected

Despite assurances in Budget Estimates that contingency plans were being put in place, Health Minister Lara Giddings today admitted that confirmed options are “few at this stage” for preventing the closure of Dr Paul McGinity’s surgeries at Scottsdale, Bridport and Derby.

These surgeries will close tomorrow if a locum cannot be secured.

In State Parliament the Health Minister said she was still investigating whether any DHHS doctors could take up a locum position and at least one had indicated a preparedness to do so.

Lara Giddings told Parliament that there were “seven other doctors” in the North-East, who people could go to. Does this reveal her and her department’s real agenda – to close down small country practices?

While a DHHS doctor employed as a locum is better than no coverage at all, such a move will leave gaps in health services elsewhere and is not a long-term solution to this problem.

The only solution to this ongoing band-aid approach is a swift resolution to the complaints and I understand there has been little progress and DHHS-instigated complaints require clarification.

Last week in Budget Estimates the Minister and Secretary of DHHS stated all stops were being pulled out to get further locum coverage for Dr McGinity, and that contingency plans were being put in place if locums failed to materialise.

The Minister said the Secretary of DHHS had said the Director of Primary Health, Pip Leedham, was preparing a fall-back plan and was working with LGH Chief Executive Officer, John Kirwan, on this.

DHHS Secretary, David Roberts, also said “there is no point waiting until Monday to figure out whether we have a solution”.

It’s now a day later and Dr McGinity’s 3,000 patients and eight surgery staff have no idea whether they should turn up to work tomorrow.

Lara Giddings has to take a much greater interest in this vital matter, rather than being some sort of ‘casual bystander’.

DR MCGINITY’S PATIENTS AT RISK – GOVERNMENT MUST GUARANTEE LOCUM TO PREVENT PRACTICE CLOSING TOMORROW
Govt Must Assist 3000 North East Tasmanians
Kim Booth MP
Greens Member for Bass
Tuesday, 30 June 2009

www.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today in Parliament called on Health Minister Lara Giddings to ensure that a government Doctor is provided on a temporary basis to act as a locum for Dr Paul McGinity following the revelation that Dr McGinity’s North East practice will be required to close from Wednesday 1st of July if a locum cannot be found.

Greens Member for Bass, Kim Booth MP, said Medical Council of Tasmania has required Dr McGinity to work with a locum, but the only available locum will finish working with Dr McGinity today, which means that Dr McGinity’s 3000 patients will lose the services of their Doctor until a new locum can be found.

“The health and safety of 3000 North East Tasmanians will be placed at risk without their doctor, and the Health Minister needs to take action to assist these people by ensuring that a government doctor can act as a locum for Dr McGinity until a new locum can be found,” said Mr Booth.

“The Health Department and Minister are ultimately responsible for the health of Tasmanians and they must take action to assist Dr McGinity’s 3000 patients by providing a doctor on a temporary basis to act as a locum for Dr McGinity.”

“Minister Giddings must step up to the plate in the interests of patient safety and ensure that no lives are placed at risk as a result of the arbitrary actions of the Medical Council.”

“The Minister can protect the patient’s health and safety by simply providing a locum until another can be found or the Medical Council drops this requirement.”

“If the government cannot find a locum then how on earth can Dr McGinity be expected to do so?”

“Minister Giddings must understand that if the Medical Council requirements on a Doctor are odious or unachievable then there is a higher duty to act in the interest of patient safety rather than simply allowing humbuggery to control health outcomes.”

“If Minister Giddings will not accept her responsibility to act then she should give up her Ministerial responsibilities and hand them over to a Minister who is prepared to act,” said Mr Booth.

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