NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard has issued a directive to halt all dealings between NSW Health and a
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard has issued a directive to halt all dealings between NSW Health and a "socially harmful cult”. Daniel McKenzie

Forum co-ordinator defends her UM involvement

UPDATE 5.10pm: CO-ORDINATOR of the 2018 PASH Forum and Conference, Sarah Broome (nee Davis) issued the following statement: "I am deeply shocked by the request to step down as there is absolutely no evidence that my conduct has been anything but professional and appropriate".

"I am a very open supporter of the organisation Universal Medicine and this in no way shape or form compromises the professionalism and integrity of my role for the last three years in the amazing program that is PASH.

"I will fully cooperate with Health's upcoming 'investigation' so that facts can be shared and I do not continue to be discriminated against based on my religious choices."

 

UPDATE 3.10pm: LISMORE MP Thomas George has backed the state Health Minister in halting associations between NSW Health and Universal Medicine.

"I welcome steps taken by Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard and the Northern NSW Local Health District to request individuals associated with Universal Medicine step down from their duties relating to this year's PASH Conference and Forum in Lismore," Mr George said.

"Following allegations regarding the practices of UM, any information which has linked government agencies to that organisation has immediately been passed to the respective ministers for investigation."

Minister Hazzard was not available for comment but a spokeswoman from his office confirmed he made the directive yesterday.

"It was made yesterday (Wednesday) once the Minister was aware of the issue and in response to concerns raised in regards to Universal Medicine, which were aired during a recent court case," she said.

NSW Health and UM leader Serge Benhayon have also been approached for comment.

 

Original story: A DIRECTIVE has been issued to NSW Health to halt all engagement with Universal Medicine.

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said there had been a directive from State health minister Brad Hazzard in relation to the group.

The announcement came as the health district was addressing concerns about Universal Medicine-linked individuals and businesses being involved with the Positive Adolescent Sexual Health (PASH) conference, which will be held at Lismore's City Hall this Friday.

A Supreme Court jury in the unsuccessful defamation trial brought by Serge Benhayon against former client Esther Rockett found UM was a "socially harmful cult".

"NNSWLHD is responding to Minister Hazzard's directive to NSW Health, overseen by the Secretary, to immediately review engagement and risks of health service involvement with Universal Medicine and discontinue any further association," Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said the health district was a partner organisation involved in the PASH Consortium, which includes more than 40 other North Coast and Mid North Coast groups "with a mandate of youth development, health and safety".

He said the material presented at PASH events - which are aimed at teens aged 15 years and up - was "evidence-based and developed by an expert panel consisting of 25 representatives from a range of 40 consortium members".

"As a PASH partner organisation, NNSWLHD is confident that the program content is supported by robust evidence and aligns with current best practice around youth health issues," he said.

But Mr Jones said they had been notified "a small number of individuals" involved with the consortium "have an external association with Universal Medicine".

"The consortium has determined to request the individuals associated with Universal Medicine to step down from their duties in relation to this year's PASH Conference and Forum," he said.

"An immediate review of all participating members of the PASH consortium is also underway."

Mr Jones said the content of the event was not in question, only some members association "with external parties".

"Universal Medicine is not a member of the PASH consortium," Mr Jones said.

"NNSWLHD is not affiliated with Universal Medicine, nor does it endorse Universal Medicine's techniques or treatments.

"NNSWLHD does not refer patients to Universal Medicine.

"NNSLWHD will continue to work with PASH on future programs to enhance youth sexual health awareness in the local region."

Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh has said events like PASH were "great programs for young people" and that the community's trust in such events "must not be undermined by controversy".

He has backed calls for an inquiry into Universal Medicine and its associated businesses.

Lismore Labor candidate Janelle Saffin also supported the basis of the event but said the UM connections risked it being "sullied in controversy".

"The infiltration of a number of our government agencies and major caring and service ones, and leading local organisations, can only be understood with a forensic inquiry," she said.

Dean Gould from Southern Cross University confirmed they were supporters of the conference and said SCU supports "NSW Health and its initiatives around sexual health".

"We are aware that outside organisations may have members with other roles in the community or their profession which intersect with the NSW Health project," he said.

"Southern Cross would expect best practice only in the exercising of their professional and community roles."

Patrick Healey is the general manager of NORPA, which handles bookings at City Hall.

Mr Healey said NORPA had not received complaints or heard concerns about UM's involvement with the event.

He said the work of the consortium was "important to the social well-being of North Coast youth".



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