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Accountability and action – not just more talk – needed after Roy Fagan tragedy

After stalling a crucial report on the unacceptable tragedy at Hobart’s Roy Fagan Centre and accepting responsibility but not accountability, Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff needs to tell Tasmanians today what he will do to fix the situation.

Shadow Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing Dr Bastian Seidel said Mr Rockliff had failed patients and staff by doing nothing to lift the Gutwein Government’s unacceptable level of care despite having knowledge of chronic staff shortages for at least seven months.

“Jeremy Rockliff has been the Minister responsible for care at Roy Fagan for the past two years, not just the past two days,” Dr Seidel said.

“The report on this heartbreaking situation involving a 78-year-old patient who was found infested with maggots has been available to Mr Rockliff since March – before the state election – but he chose to keep it hidden.

“He has accepted responsibility but at no stage has he provided a timeline for when he intends to adopt this report’s recommendations and at no time has he given any financial commitment to fix the situation.

“This is supposed to be Tasmania’s top mental health facility where some of our most vulnerable are supposed to receive the best care but staff are simply unable to do that because the Liberal Government will not provide them with even adequate resources.

“There has been plenty of time for this Minister to act. There has been plenty of time for him to bring staffing levels up to scratch so families can be confident their relatives – who in most cases are helpless – are receiving proper care.

“He has failed and Mr Rockliff needs to very specifically tell Tasmanians where is his accountability?

“Labor went to the election with a comprehensive plan to establish a second campus at the former Hobart Repatriation Hospital site which would include a state-of-the-art mental health facility – something that is desperately required in Tasmania.

“Mr Rockliff needs to immediately provide details of what he plans to do.”

Dr Bastian Seidel MLC  
Shadow Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing Minister