Health Presser
Health Presser

Health boss ‘caught’ praising troubled project

The Director-General of Queensland Health has been recorded saying he had to speak positively about a hospital technology upgrade doctors fear is dangerous.

The state government is rolling out an upgraded patient records system and it's already being used in many hospitals despite patient safety concerns.

The ABC has aired a recording of Queensland Health Director-General Michael Walsh at a meeting with senior doctors in April.

In the recording, he concedes there are problems and that some doctors have refused to use the system until they are convinced it's safe. But he also says he's been "caught" in situations where he's had to say good things about it.

Queensland Health Director General Michael Walsh. Picture: AAP/ Megan Slade
Queensland Health Director General Michael Walsh. Picture: AAP/ Megan Slade

"There are problems and issues, all of which clinicians ... say 'well we're not actually turning that on, we're not doing it, until we've got a way of dealing with that, that we believe is safe'," Mr Walsh says.

"So I often get caught into having to speak more positively, publicly, because you get put into a situation of having to say the system is going to do this, and the auditor-general said that there's going to be benefits, and blah, blah, blah."

In March, the ABC published a letter from the Australian Medical Association of Queensland calling for an "urgent pause" to the rollout of the Integrated Electronic Medical Record (ieMR) system.

It warned the system was plagued by lags, resulting in patients being given multiple doses of drugs while data such as heartrate and oxygen levels weren't being recorded during surgery.

In the letter, AMAQ president Dilip Dhupelia and chief executive Jane Schmitt warned hospital and health services to urgently halt the upgrade so issues could be resolved.

"We believe an urgent pause to the rollout is needed to reduce overloading a strained network, and stop problems spreading and impacting on patient safety and productivity," they said in the letter.