Image for Dame Catherine joins health bureaucrats’  flying visits

Previously, she was executive chief nurse at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The NHS East Midlands website states: “Dame Catherine is special advisor to the Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Health and Social Care [sic] in relation to nursing.” ( Website, here ).

Dame Catherine is one of a select number of UK health bureaucrats appointed since Mr Roberts’ arrival.

Mr Roberts confirmed she had already visited Tasmania twice when appearing before the Legislative Council Estimates Committee in June last year.

“She has been over twice now,” he told the Committee, “She is working with stakeholders, like the ANF and other unions, with our staff and with our directors of nursing in the individual hospitals and with colleagues at the AMA.

“We are planning a study tour to understand how our workforce, midwifery and allied health professional workforces can move over coming years toward more contemporary models of delivering services, respecting the needs of our patients and the service provision through the Tasmanian Health Plan. It is changing quite dramatically with specialist nurses, nurse practitioners and a whole range of other opportunities for our nurses.”

In April this year, Hobart GP Graeme Alexander, told a Legislative Council Select Committee on the Public Health System, that Tasmania’s public health system was failing and said it that it was further challenged by the employment of British bureaucrats.

“The National Health System in the United Kingdom struggles to give people access to basic health care,” Dr Alexander said. “It is an expensive, failing system - particularly in outlying areas. The UK system is [only] famous for producing health bureaucrats - which they export around the world and we are importing them.” ( On Tasmanian Times: GP’s full-frontal assault on Tasmania’s ‘carrier pigeon’ health system ).

Mr Roberts was a senior bureaucrat with University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, before his appointment as chief executive officer University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire National Health Trust (University Hospitals), a position he held for five years.

During this time, he was chairman of Sterling Planning Alliance (UK), a company associated with US based multinational, Skansa International Constructions, which built a new hospital in Coventry.

Mr Roberts was on leave from University Hospitals for some time before his contract ended on July, 31 2006.

In August 2007, Health Minister Lara Giddings appointed him to head her department.

Among Mr Roberts’ former UK colleagues is Alice Burchill.

As Alice Casey, she was a senior colleague in both Birmingham and at University Hospitals. Last year, under her married name,  Burchill, she was appointed to the newly created position of DHHS Deputy Secretary Care Reform -  despite a moratorium on senior public service appointments.

Ms Burchill was not a member of the study tour to the US and UK, from August 27 to September 9 last year. Mr Roberts was on the UK leg,  joining 18 public health professionals, and ANF Tasmanian Branch secretary Neroli Ellis.

Tour participants were:

.      Mr Roberts

·      Primary Health Area Coordinator North Esk, Sophie Legge;

·      Primary Health North West Manager Nursing and Allied Health,  Noni Morse;

·      Clinical Nurse Specialist Mental Health Services, Fred Kamphuis;

·      Clinical Nurse Manager RHH Ambulatory Care Centre, Caroline Ball;

·      Nurse Unit Manager RHH Orthopaedics, Linda Styles;

·      RHH Staff Specialist Respiratory & General Medicine, Dr Cameron Hunter;

·      Manager Physiotherapy Services RHH, Paul Shinkfield;

·      Nurse Project Manager Women’s and Children’s RHH, Kim Ford;

·      Nurse Unit Manager Medicine LGH, Kerry Leonard;

·      Nurse Unit Manager Emergency Department LGH, Maree Dakin;

·      Operating Suite Nurse LGH, Madeline Smith;

·      Speech Pathologist LGH, Joanna Hodgson;

·      Clinical Nurse Educator NWRH, Hayley Elmer;

·      Executive Director of Nursing Royal Hobart Hospital, Susan Price;

·      Assistant Director of Nursing (Surgery) Launceston General Hospital, Cassandra Sampson;

·      Assistant Director of Nursing (Midwifery) North West Regional Hospital, Francine Douce;

·      Director of Nursing Primary Health, Gina Butler;

·      Chief Nursing Officer, Associate Professor Fiona Stoker;

·      Australian Nursing Federation State Secretary, Neroli Ellis.

Mr Roberts’ expenses for this trip were $10,069. A subsequent trip to the UK and the US cost $20,032.

Health boss a high-flyer. Includes links to previous stories

The bureaucrat, Dame Catherine Elcoat, left,  is Director of Patient Care for the National Health Service, East Midlands, with responsibility for nurses, allied health professionals and health care sciences.