Australia

New SA Health boss under attack from MP

SA Health’s new chief executive apologized to lawmakers after being accused of “trying to extract a witness” during an initial questioning before a congressional committee.

SA Health Director Dr Robin Lawrence made her first appearance at Congress’s Budget and Finance Committee this morning, but it was the absence of two of her stand-ins that sparked controversy.

Indaily Until this morning, lawmakers on the committee had expected Lawrence’s representatives, Don Frater and Lynn Cowan, to also answer questions, but neither of them showed up for the hearing.

Instead, Julienne Tepohe, SA Health’s deputy chief executive officer of enterprise systems and support services, joined Lawrence.

This sparked outrage from the opposition and members of the Crossbench Committee. They planned to ask Cowan, who had served as SA Health’s chief executive until Lawrence’s appointment two weeks earlier, a series of questions about ambulance installations and the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

“As a committee, are we going to expect you and the department to bring witnesses before the committee when they see fit?” SA Best MLC Frank Pangallo asked Lawrence.

“Thank you for the fact that you have only been here two weeks and that is probably why some of the other members of SA Health wanted to thank you for being here.

“They will have questions that you cannot answer and must pay attention to.”

Lawrence said he decided not to bring Cowan and Freighter to the hearing after business hours on Friday.

She told Health Secretary Chris Picton “late Friday afternoon” that she was considering not sending Cowan and Freighter, but left it to her to make the decision.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“From now on, I will be more conscious of this process and ensure that the people I nominate to participate participate with me.”

Pangallo asked Lawrence if she considered speaking to the commission about her decision not to send Cowan and Freighter.

“Excuse me,” she repeated.

“It was late Friday afternoon when I thought about what to do this morning, well past 5:00 p.m. after the Commission had closed.

“I accept that this is unacceptable to the Commission.”

In response to questions early in the hearing by Commission chairman and Liberal MLC member Heidi Girolamo, Lawrence said that Cowan and Frater “wanted to provide ample opportunity to answer questions in a relatively short meeting.” said it chose not to send

“The team has a lot of other things to improve on,” she said.

Lawrence served as WA Health’s Deputy Director of Clinical Excellence before taking over from Cowan on September 12.

She has since spoken about the ongoing challenges facing SA Health in tackling ambulance ramping and emergency department blockages.

At the hearing this morning, she said one of her first goals is to bring the number of ambulances back to 2018 levels, though she could not clarify what those levels would be.

“I was given a clear mandate to tackle the ambulance craze and improve access to treatment for all South Australians in South Australian hospitals,” she said.

“We recognize the challenges ahead of us, but South Australia has a world-renowned healthcare system, supported by excellent doctors, nurses, paramedics, allied medical and other supportive staff. I also recognize that

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New SA Health boss under attack from MP

Source link New SA Health boss under attack from MP

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