Whistleblower wants CMC meeting
A Queensland former medical board investigator wants to meet with the corruption watchdog on Monday even though she doesn't trust it to investigate shocking claims of malpractice.
Jo Barber, who worked as an investigator with the Queensland Medical Board between 2007 and mid-2010, said she had evidence of a doctor murdering a patient and a case of manslaughter.
She has compiled a 40-page report covering the cases which did not yield results, including details on 75 investigations in which doctors were being monitored for health impairments, including brain injuries and alcohol or drug addiction.
Another 10 to 15 doctors had been investigated for sexually assaulting patients and one had numerous complaints made against him for allegedly manhandling unruly children.
In the most serious allegation, one doctor turned the oxygen down on a patient on life support and prematurely killed the woman against her wishes.
"That doctor is still working," she said.
She said the QMB didn't investigate adequately and matters were never referred to the police.
Investigations were often delayed, weren't followed through because of legal costs and there was an overriding culture of putting doctors' interests before patients, she said.
Ms Barber also claimed that QMB member Professor Peter Woodruff would say that Dr Patel's crimes were not uncommon but wouldn't divulge names.
Ms Barber said she has paid a large price for blowing the whistle and has been ostracised.
She gave her report to the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission on Saturday but it was referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission within just three days.
PCMC chair Alex Douglas said although the complaints were serious the PCMC didn't have the powers to investigate.
He defended the overall system that investigates malpractice and said that there are enough avenues for proper inquiries, including the Australian Medical Board, the Health Quality Complaints Commission and the CMC.
"In fact I would like to reassure people we've made incredibly strong efforts that it is good as it could ever be," Mr Douglas said.
Former independent Queensland MP Rob Messenger, who publicised the 'doctor death' case of Jayant Patel, is helping Ms Barber.
He is disappointed the PCMC isn't taking responsibility and said it had other options instead of referring the report to the CMC, including using a parliamentary commissioner or an independent judicial officer.
He said by palming it off, the PCMC has put added stress onto Ms Barber.
Ms Barber said she doesn't trust the CMC and the HQCC because they have been involved in some of the claims before and have not acted.
She also doesn't trust the Medical Board of Australia because many of her former colleagues from the Queensland Medical Board now work there.
She said that she has asked to meet with the CMC on Monday and is "keen" to talk to its new chairman, Ross Martin.
Mr Martin, who successfully prosecuted Patel, said he understands that whistleblowers can sometimes be mistrustful.
"Whatever her concerns it should be apparent that I am no friend of doctors who are alleged to be grossly incompetent," he said in a statement.
"I give her my assurance that her information will be examined appropriately."