LNP MP alleges Qld hospital bully cover up

Marty Silk |

A Queensland politician says a toxic culture of bullying and intimidation at the Sunshine Coast Hospital was ignored by higher officials for three years.

Liberal National Party MP Brent Mickelberg says two whistleblowers were suspended after trying to shed light on the situation at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“The culture of cover-up so pervasive within this Labor state government resulted in Queensland Health workers being bullied, harassed, and victimised,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

“They, and the Sunshine Coast residents they care for, deserved better.

“The toxic culture and failures of leadership that were allowed to fester at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service for almost three years need to be exposed.”

Mr Mickelberg tabled an anonymous letter written to Queensland Health director-general John Wakefield about alleged bullying by the former SCUH chief executive Naomi Dwyer and chief operating officer Karlyn Chettleburgh.

The LNP MP said he obtained the document under a right to information request he made in April after whistleblowers approached him early last year.

The writer urges Dr Wakefield to intervene and sack two executives who had “demoralised” the senior leadership group at the hospital by telling them “repeatedly how incompetent they are”.

“The current relationships and environment with the CE and COO are irreversible,” said the letter, tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

“There is no respect, honesty, trust or authenticity.

“There is a pervasive culture of blame, fear and restribution.”

Mr Mickelberg said Dr Wakefield ignored the writer’s plea to sack the pair to end “a pervasive culture of blame, fear and retribution” at the hospital.

He said 24 senior staff left the SCUH during the then-chief executive’s reign and two whistleblowers were suspended.

Ms Dwyer resigned from the chief executive role six months after Mr Mickelberg lodged the RTI application, which the MP said “is hardly a coincidence”.

“The CEO and chief operating officer may now have left, but the effects from the toxic culture they created are still being felt, 30 per cent of all elective surgery patients are not treated on time at Sunshine Coast University Hospital,” Mr Mickelberg said.

“In fact, the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service has the worst two performing public hospitals in all of Queensland.”