The group also included Australian Nursing Federation Tasmanian Branch Secretary Neroli Ellis.

The team attended a one-day presentation in London on September 20, 2008,  given by multinational firm Ernst & Young.

Ernst & Young Sydney was subsequently awarded two contracts worth $1,388,750 to undertake business reviews for DHHS of the Royal Hobart Hospital and other public hospitals.

The first contract was awarded by Treasury on October 10, 2008. It was for a business review of the Royal Hobart Hospital between November 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009, worth an estimated $689,150 (including GST).

The second contract was awarded by Treasury on April 15, 2009, to continue the review of the RHH, and to include the Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Health and Mental Services,  between March 16, 2009 and June 30, 2009. It was worth an estimated $699,600 (including GST).

Mr Roberts had worked with Ernst & Young previously. The company was contracted by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire National
Health Trust (University Hospitals Trust) in the United Kingdom,  when he was chief executive officer.

The minutes of a public University Hospital Board meeting on October 25, 2006, record that Mr Roberts confirmed that work was being undertaken by Ernst & Young on a costs reduction program, with the aim of saving 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds over a two to three year period.

Ernst & Young was the only firm to tender for the Tasmanian contracts, which were exempt from the moratorium on public service appointments.

Under questioning during Budget Estimates on Tuesday, Health Minister Lara Giddings confirmed that the appointment of Alice Burchill in the newly created post of Deputy Secretary Care and Reform, was made a month after the public service moratorium.

Defending the appointment - because Ms Burchill was a senior colleague of Mr Roberts at University Hospitals Trust -  the Minister said she had read a letter written by Mr Roberts last August,  in which he had given the names of Ms Burchill and two other international candidates,  to the recruitment company.
Ms Giddings said Mr Roberts had no part in the selection process.

Tasmanian Times understands that the recruitment company rated someone other than Ms Burchill as the best person for the position, but he did not get an interview.

Tasmanian Times understands this person was then WA Health Department Deputy Secretary Michael Pervan.

Dr Pervan was later appointed Acting CEO of the Royal Hobart Hospital.


The head of the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services,  David Roberts, led a group of up to 24 DHHS staff on an international   tour in September last year to investigate the best way to run public   hospitals.