Bundy nurse's complaints ignored

Registered nurse Christine Cameron says her claims of wrongdoing and poor practices at Bundaberg Hospital were not investigated fully.
Registered nurse Christine Cameron says her claims of wrongdoing and poor practices at Bundaberg Hospital were not investigated fully. RON BURGIN

A FORMER Bundaberg Hospital nurse has told of the frustration she felt over what she claimed were inadequate investigations into complaints she made in February this year.

Christine Cameron had made several incident reports, including the allegations of the unnecessary and premature death of an elderly patient and an alleged assault of a baby by a doctor, but said they had been ignored.

She slammed a 125-page formal response to her claims, which were provided to her in September as part of the investigation, as “hopelessly inept, biased and inaccurate”.

“I absolutely loved my job. I felt guilty for getting paid for it because I loved it. I was told the hours of investigation required to determine whether medical practitioners provided appropriate care would be an unjustifiable use of resources,” she said.

Mrs Cameron, who worked at the hospital for about four and a half years, had been on stress leave for 12 months before she resigned from her position in October.

The East Bundaberg woman said part of her frustration came from not knowing who was conducting the investigation after the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) handed responsibility back to Queensland Health.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said Mrs Cameron was initially told Queensland Health’s Ethical Standards Unit (ESU) would be in charge of the investigation, but it backed out mid-investigation.

“The entire investigation has been compromised. Primary witnesses weren’t interviewed and Christine’s documented allegations and evidence was completely overlooked,” he said.

Kevin Hegarty, district chief officer of the Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District, said at no time was he in charge of the investigations.

“At all times officers from the ESU were and are conducting the investigation. My role is that of the decision maker following the outcome of the investigation,” he said.

Mr Hegarty said Queensland Health did become aware of serious allegations made in February this year and took those complaints seriously.

“It is important for me to say that under the provisions of the Whistleblowers Protection Act I’m not able to confirm or deny if someone is a whistleblower ... nor am I able to detail what issues someone who may or may not be a whistleblower has brought forward,” he said.

Mr Hegarty said it was usual to allow the complainant to provide feedback on information gathered during the course of the investigation and the opportunity had been provided.

“It is important to note that the investigation is still continuing and therefore no determination has been made, therefore it is premature to talk about bias,” he said.

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