Barnett Government gags Health Department officials

October 10th, 2014 by: Kwinana Electorale Office

Fast facts:

WA Health Department officers gagged from giving evidence to federal Parliamentary inquiry.
The Select Committee on Health Inquiry is investigating impact of Commonwealth funding cuts on WA hospitals.
WA Health system stood to benefit from inquiry.
Barnett Government must lift its gag order on health staff so they are free to give evidence.

Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook has attacked the Barnett Government for gagging its own Health Department staff from speaking to a federal Parliamentary inquiry into health which opens in Perth today.

Mr Cook said it was appalling that WA Health staff had been denied the opportunity to give important evidence to the inquiry because their information could be used to inform the Federal Government about changes to improve health care delivery in WA.

The inquiry was investigating the impact of reduced Commonwealth funding for hospitals and other health services provided by the states, including the impact on elective surgery, emergency department waiting times and hospital bed numbers.

Mr Cook said he was aware that the inquiry had desperately sought the cooperation and participation of the State Government but this had been rejected at the highest levels of the Barnett Government.

The committee has already held hearings in New South Wales and South Australia, where health departments in those states have cooperated with the inquiry.

“What are Mr Barnett and Health Minister Kim Hames trying to hide from this federal inquiry?

“Why on earth would our State Government want to stop a federal inquiry finding out about the issues we’re facing here in Western Australia?

“This inquiry represents a real chance to let Canberra know how it’s hurting our hospitals.

“The Barnett Government should be standing up for our state and shouting from the rooftops about the need for a better funding deal from Canberra.

“Instead, Mr Barnett and Dr Hames have slapped a gag on doctors and health officials to stop them telling their stories.”

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