CCTV: Was overcrowded hospital photo fake?
After photos emerged in July showing an extremely crowded Frankston emergency, the Victorian government have released CCTV they says shows paramedics moving beds together, orchestrating the shot.PT2M10S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2uwvx 620 349 October 3, 2013
Victorian Health Minister David Davis claims he has caught paramedics faking a photograph showing patients crammed into Frankston Hospital's emergency department - but paramedics have angrily denied the claim.
A photograph taken by a paramedics inside the department was leaked to the media in July to highlight overcrowding.
Mr Davis on Thursday released closed-circuit television footage from the hospital which shows about half a dozen paramedics moving patients into a corridor around the time the photograph was taken.
He said the footage showed "patients being manoeuvred around the emergency department for no reason other than to manufacture photographs".
Ambulance union secretary Steve McGhie angrily denied the claim, saying paramedics needed to move patients to clear space for others arriving behind them.
"It's insulting to paramedics and I hope people who were there on that day come forward to show it's the minister who's not telling the truth," he said.
Mr McGhie said paramedics had described the scene at Frankston hospital on the evening in question as "total chaos".
A hospital spokesman said in July that 80 patients were in the department at 8pm on Monday July 8. He said the department normally had space for 42 patients and dozens of patients had to be placed in the waiting room.
Asked if the paramedics would be sacked, Mr Davis said he had referred the matter to Ambulance Victoria and expected it "to scrupulously manage their employees in a way consistent with the law".
A spokesman for Ambulance Victoria said it was aware of the footage, regarded the matter as serious and was currently conducting an investigation.
Mr Davis said the "disgraceful episode" called into question the credibility of many claims made by the ambulance union, which has been negotiating for more than a year over a new pay deal.
He said he was investigating other examples across the state where he believed paramedics had been "using patients to manufacture fake photographs".
Mr McGhie said the union had no need to stage photographs of ambulances queued outside hospitals, which was causing paramedics to spend more than a thousand hours each month queued outside some Melbourne hospitals.
Opposition parliamentary secretary for health Wade Noonan said it was a sad day when Mr Davis was conducting "a witch-hunt against hard-working paramedics rather than spending time fixing the crisis in our emergency departments."