Dr Hilary Mercer. Photo: Contributed
Dr Hilary Mercer. Photo: Contributed

Sackings at Rockhampton Hospital set unjust precedent

THE Base Hospital situation demands resolution.

Presumably Mr Charles Ware reflected the decision of the board in sacking not only the doctor involved in the recent surgical matter but also the Director of Clinical Services and the Director of Surgery on the ground that "it happened on their watch".

It was made clear that the board went public on this matter so the community should be aware of all the facts, so clearly there were no other reasons for the associated sackings.

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Mention has already been made of the fact that the matter occurred on Mr Ware's watch as well, but he felt sufficiently removed from the situation as to not resign himself.

The usual practice in these cases is for the health professional involved to be stood down, pending investigation by the appropriate authorities.

The current situation has created a significant and dramatic precedent.

It means that if a doctor in the emergency department, children's ward or obstetric unit, for example, makes a serious error, the director of the particular unit, as well as the Director of Clinical Services for the entire hospital, would again be sacked along with the particular doctor involved.

Presumably if a nurse made a life endangering error, the director of nursing could be expected to be sacked.

Apart from the innate unfairness and lack of justice involved in sacking people and perhaps destroying their future careers simply because someone else was presumed to have made a mistake, what hope does Rockhampton have of attracting senior staff to the hospital if they have this sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

These issues have to be resolved by the board if the Rockhampton community is to have appropriate health services at the Base Hospital; and it should be resolved under the same public spotlight as was applied to those doctors so peculiarly and unfairly dealt with by the board.

Yours faithfully,

Hilary Mercer,

Paediatrician.


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