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Thursday, February 09, 2006

HEALTH MINISTER CLEARLY NOT IN CONTROL

The Tasmanian Greens today described the resignation of Dr David Jackson, Clinical Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service as unnecessary, saying that it is an indictment on the Health Minister, David Llewellyn’s inability to provide proper oversight of his department, and have called for urgent talks to be held to persuade Dr Jackson to resume his position.

Greens Opposition Health and Human Services spokesperson Tim Morris MHA said that it is of critical importance that the serious problems at the Alcohol and Drug Service are resolved, and that the Minister must seek an urgent meeting with Dr Jackson to see whether he would be prepared to resume his position and under what circumstances.

Mr Morris also called for the Minister to pull the blatant political advertising currently running designed to convince Tasmanians that all is well in the public health system, a PR image now in tatters, and to instead redirect those funds where they are desperately needed such as the Alcohol and Drug Service.

“The loss of Dr Jackson is a disaster for the Alcohol and Drug Service and he will be difficult to replace, as are all good staff, so I am now calling on Minister Llewellyn to swallow his pride, meet with Dr Jackson as a matter of urgency and negotiate the terms under which Dr Jackson could be convinced to resume his position,” Mr Morris said.

“The shocking revelations about the state of our Drug and Alcohol service demonstrate that the Health adverts currently being shown on TV are blatantly misleading and should be pulled immediately, with the money redirected to the desperately needed public health services.”

“Just what are Minister Llewellyn’s priorities?”

“This disaster is of the Minister’s own making, as he has either not acted, or he has allowed himself to be shielded from concerns being raised with his office about the dire situation at the Alcohol and Drug Service.”

“ I met with Dr David Jackson last Wednesday morning, when he told me of the problems he was having in attempting to provide an adequate service and that he was due to meet with the Departmental Secretary, Mr Martyn Forrest the next day, so we know he was trying to get the situation addressed but obviously now feels that he can no longer be associated with a system which is failing its duty of care to vulnerable Tasmanians.”

“Minster Llewellyn had plenty of time last week to address the concerns of Dr Jackson, and if he was doing his job properly he would be having regular meetings with key people within his own department such as Dr Jackson, instead it appears he was too busy preparing media releases to convince a sceptical public that all is well in health.”

“Had the Minister’s door not been closed and if Dr Jackson was not banned from speaking out publicly, then he may still be at work, saving lives.”

“It should be David Llewellyn contemplating a job change, not David Jackson,” Mr Morris said.

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