Thursday, 25 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Colbeck. Yesterday, following COVID vaccine overdoses by a doctor in Queensland, the Minister for Health and Aged Care claimed:
… the specific training of this Australian-trained doctor were all carried out in accordance with procedures. Every one of those steps has been checked and rechecked, and none of those steps had been breached.
He and this minister were then forced to correct the record, advising the doctor had not completed the required training. Why has the minister let this rollout commence in aged-care homes without ensuring that everyone administering the vaccinations had the required training?
Both the Minister for Health and Aged Care and I believed that it was important that we put on the public record as quickly as possible the information that we had available to us with respect to the circumstances that occurred at the aged-care facility in Queensland. We were assured, via the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, by Healthcare Australia that the doctor involved had, in fact, undertaken the required training. We were subsequently advised, on further investigation and inquiry, that that had not been the case. So what we have done is we have taken specific action to ensure, via our own circumstances, that every worker working on the vaccine rollout in aged care across the country is independently audited by us.
An opposition senator interjecting—
Labor should be very cautious about the language that they're using with respect to this matter. They should be very, very cautious. The Labor Party are contributing, with their language, to an undermining of the confidence in the vaccination process across the country. Their language is directly contributing to the undermining of the confidence in the vaccination process across this country, which we all agree is absolutely vital. It's absolutely vital that we maintain confidence in the vaccination process around the country. I'm very pleased to note that the acceptance rate, the confirmation rate, of residents in aged-care facilities around the country remains high. It remains high, which is exactly what we want. We want senior Australians protected via the application of the vaccine. (Time expired)
Did the general practitioner who was responsible for the overdoses have conditions on his registration? If so, why were these conditions permitted under the contract entered into by the Morrison government?
I'll have to take the specifics of any details in relation to the doctor concerned on notice. My advice is that he's not a general practitioner; he's a doctor. The doctor was an Australian trained doctor. But I will take any specifics of any conditions that he may have had. There is currently an investigation being undertaken by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd, into the circumstances of this case. Once that information is available to me, I'll be very happy to provide it to the chamber.
As I indicated in my first answer, the Australian government is taking an independent audit of all of those people who are working on the vaccine rollout in aged care in the country, independent of the processes that exist within the organisations that are undertaking the rollout. We have also asked that the former Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer be embedded in Healthcare Australia. So we are undertaking our own independent oversight to ensure that all of those who are participating in the rollout are appropriately qualified and trained.