News

Health cover-up claims

Former MP Rob Messenger.
Former MP Rob Messenger. Contributed

"EXPLOSIVE" allegations about corruption, malpractice and mismanagement in the Sunshine Coast health system have emerged during a visit by health campaigners Rob Messenger and Jo Barber.

The claims were made by a Coast doctor and four nurses during nine hours of discussions with the former MP and former Queensland Medical Board chief investigator.

Mr Messenger could release little detail publicly, but said the allegations included claims of corruption and cover-ups within health administration, mistreatment of patients and over-prescribing of addictive medications, particularly dexamphetamines - described as "legalised speed".

"It was explosive," Mr Messenger said.

"The allegations are certainly worthy of more investigation."

Ms Barber noted there were particular concerns about mental health services in Nambour - both public and private - with allegations made of mistreatment of patients.

Staff who attempted to raise concerns claim to have been threatened with reprisals.

Ms Barber suggested that some professionals had been threatened with jail if they spoke out, and other casual staff threatened with cuts to their work hours.

"To say the health system is in crisis is an understatement.

"Even to me, who has seen so much, it is still staggering to me to know how dysfunctional things are."

The pair's visit followed claims last week that inappropriate actions may have caused the deaths of at least 12 patients on the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Messenger said the Coast professionals who came forward with their stories expressed a sense of hopelessness about their situations and were concerned that their matters had not been followed up previously.

"All of these people had taken their concerns to HQCC (Health Quality Complaints Commission) and AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Authority) and they'd all been covered up, they'd all been given the runaround," he said.

Mr Messenger, who is calling for a Royal Commission to investigate the state health sector, will today give details of the Sunshine Coast concerns to former judge Richard Chesterman QC, who has been appointed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission to investigate claims across Queensland of doctor malpractice.

"If we get the Royal Commission, I guarantee there will be former politicians, senior health bureaucrats and health administrators who end up in jail," he said.

Mr Messenger and Ms Barber said medical professionals who had concerns would be protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.

Topics:  doctors health prescription drugs rob messenger royal commission sunshine coast



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