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16 April, 2020

Hill MP writes scathing letter to Health Minister

Member for Hill Shane Knuth has written a scathing letter to the Minister for Health & Ambulance Services, Steven Miles asking for more regular and detailed updates regarding COVID-19

By Phil Brandel

Member for Hill Shane Knuth has written a scathing letter to the Minister for Health & Ambulance Services, Steven Miles asking for more regular and detailed updates regarding COVID-19 from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital Health Service (CHHHS)

“I wrote a letter to the Minister for Health requesting he investigate why CHHHS was not providing a simple breakdown of COVID-19 cases,” Mr Knuth said.

“We have asked for this information daily since a teleconference with Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young and crossbenchers over two weeks ago.

“I raised the issue of the need to provide a breakdown of the location of COVID-19 cases across the CHHHS region for constituents to be better informed which Dr Young had agreed on that position.

The Express and other media outlets have made numerous attempts to get detailed numbers from CHHHS over the past few months, either receiving vague responses, directions to the Queensland Health website or no answer at all.

Mr Knuth believes a breakdown in the regions would provide reassurance, vigilance, and eliminate rumours. “In a pandemic like this transparency and communication are paramount." Mr Knuth said

“We have received some information regarding breakdowns but only in trickles. It is not good enough for the CHHHS region, which takes in so many council areas, to just say we have 32 cases.

“It is time that CHHHS management stop withholding information about the location of cases, both active and recovered.”

 

During the week the Minister was asked directly by a reporter in a press conference:

REPORTER: "Some community leaders are calling for more detailed testing to be released, some rumours are spreading, is that something the department is considering?

MINISTER MILES: "It is something we’re working on, obviously we’ve had to put in place data management processes, and that is taking some time, but it is our hope to be able to provide at least local government area level data, and where there are higher numbers of cases in a local government area, to provide that by suburb. We are working on that and hope to have it available shortly."
 

In his letter to the Minister the Member for Hill wrote:

“I write to URGENTLY draw your attention to the complete incompetency and secrecy from (CHHHS) management in their failure to provide reliable, daily information on COVID-19 cases in the region they operate.

On behalf of constituents, I have requested, on numerous occasions a breakdown by local government area of new cases confirmed and those recovered from CHHHS management.

However, only trickles of this information have been released, which leaves me with no choice but to report this failure of CHHHS management directly to you.

I cannot understand why other health service areas, provision of the number of cases can be broken down by local government area, yet CHHHS appear to be guarding this information like CIA operatives.

I am not pointing the finger at all CHHHS management, but the withholding and suppressing of vital information by some management staff, which should be made readily available to the public is concerning.

In this period of uncertainty, the best way to ensure public calm is to be transparent and provide reliable, up to date information to the community.

Unfortunately, CHHHS has failed miserably in that aim and I demand this be investigated immediately by your office."

 

To read the letter in full go to https://www.theexpressnewspaper.com.au/uncategorized/shane-knuth-letter/


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