MP calls for police probe

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger.
Member for Burnett Rob Messenger.

FORMER Queensland chief health officer Gerry Fitzgerald should be investigated by police for a “failure to act” during surgeon Jayant Patel’s time at Bundaberg Hospital, according to Member for Burnett Rob Messenger.

Mr Messenger told the NewsMail yesterday he had written to the Police Commissioner and asked police to investigate whether Dr Fitzgerald had committed a crime by not suspending Patel following allegations made by nurse whistleblower Toni Hoffman and other medical professionals in March 2005.

“The (Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry) commissioner was highly critical of Dr Fitzgerald in relation to his investigations of Dr Patel,” Mr Messenger said.

“The Commission stated that Dr Fitzgerald allowing Dr Patel to continue to practise and then leaving it to the Medical Board of Queensland to manage ‘was a course designed to minimise publicity and, in effect, conceal the truth’.

“Further, the Commission stated that with the information in Dr Fitzgerald’s possession, he should have immediately suspended Dr Patel but failed to do so.”

He said Dr Fitzgerald’s alleged failure to act may have prejudiced the rights of patients given negligent treatment by Patel from March 24, 2005.

“Therefore, it may be in breach of sections 92 and 200 of the Criminal Code, which make it illegal for public servants to abuse the position of their office,” he said.

“I am far from convinced that the adverse findings of the Royal Commission against senior bureaucrats have been adequately pursued by the Queensland authorities.

“Not one Queensland Health bureaucrat has been charged by police, despite the adverse findings and the deaths and suffering of the people of Bundaberg.”

Mr Messenger has also made complaints against director of medical services Dr Darren Keating and district manager Peter Leck on the basis of criticisms within the Commission of Inquiry’s findings.

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