Last week, Tasmanian Times asked DHHS if any other health professionals had accompanied Elcoat to Tasmania, and received an answer from Chief Nurse Fiona Stoker: “No.”
Stoker volunteered the information that Elcoat “spent a day with RHH staff at their request to enable them to demonstrate their case work.”
Tasmanian Times asked who made the request for her to visit the Royal.
Stoker: “Staff as advised.” We asked how many staff were involved in demonstrating their case work. Stoker: “Well attended. Prof Dame Catherine visited a number of wards and engaged with RHH staff at the unit level.”
Tasmanian Times asked if Elcoat’s husband accompanied her on any of her trips and if so, were his airfares, hotel bills and meals picked up; or any part therof. We received this answer: “The Department has nothing further to add to its previous comments on this topic. You can attribute this to a Departmental spokesperson.”
Tasmanian Times asked a further question this week: “Please will you advise who authorised the decision not to answer the question about whether Catherine Elcoat’s husband accompanied her to Tasmania and if any of his costs were covered by DHHS. And why the non-answer was attributed to a nameless person.”
Late yesterday (20/10/09) we received this answer from the DHHS media unit: “As was previously mentioned, DHHS only paid Prof Dame Catherine Elcoat’s expenses. Also as previously stated, the Department has nothing further to add on this topic.”
The Department may not want to say anything further, and Giddings and Roberts might want to avoid directly answering, but Tasmanian Times has further questions:
1. Who asked Elcoat to visit the Royal?
2. Did any family member accompany Elcoat on any of her trips and if so, did DHHS pay any part of the costs?
3. Why did DHHS fly Elcoat to Tasmania for two days - 19/20 June 2008 - when she had been here in June and returned in September?
4. Did Elcoat submit reports after each of her trips? If so, are they publicly available?
5. Have any of her recommendations been implemented?
6. If so, what? If not, why not?
7. What were the benefits from sending a 20 strong DHHS study group to the US and the UK?
8. How many trips to the UK and the US has David Roberts made since his appointment?
9. How many trips to the UK and the US has Deputy Secretary Alice Burchill made since her appointment?
10. How many overseas trips have required the presence of both Roberts and Burchill?
And why are Health Minister Lara Giddings and DHHS Secretary David Roberts so sensitive to Tasmanian Times’ questions that they hide behind a media minder?