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Report recommends Patel manslaughter charge. 30/11/2005. ABC News Online

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1520107.htm

Last Update: Wednesday, November 30, 2005. 3:17pm (AEDT)
A report has recommended Dr Jayant Patel be charged with manslaughter over the deaths of patients.Kaiser doctor Jayant Patel

A report has recommended Dr Jayant Patel be charged with manslaughter over the deaths of patients. (ABC)
 
Report recommends Patel manslaughter charge

The report into Queensland's public hospitals has recommended Dr Jayant Patel be charged with manslaughter over the deaths of patients he treated at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Premier Peter Beattie tabled the 500-page report in State Parliament soon after inquiry Commissioner Geoff Davies handed him the finished copy.

It is the third health report tabled this year, following the interim findings of Commissioner Davies' predecessor, Tony Morris QC and the system review of consultant Peter Forster.

The report recommends Dr Patel be referred to police and charged with manslaughter, grievous bodily harm, assault and fraud.

His former employers also face disciplinary action.

Bundaberg Hospital administrator Dr Darren Keating faces prosecution by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) for official misconduct, for allegedly providing false and misleading information.

District manager Peter Leck also faces dismissal and prosecution by the CMC for official misconduct.

The report also found both sides of government have been guilty of concealing elective surgery waiting lists.

The Commissioner says this secrecy goes against the public interest.

Findings were also made against former health minister Wendy Edmond for concealing hospital waiting lists and Gordon Nuttall for misleading and careless handling of an initial report into Dr Patel.

Despite the criticism by Commissioner Davies, the Premier is standing by Mr Nuttall

"In relation to Minister Nuttall, I've noted what Mr Davies has said and we have taken on board," Mr Beattie said.

"He will continue as the Minister for Primary Industries."

Mr Beattie has vowed that authorities will do all they can to prosecute Dr Patel.

He says a police team has already been working for six months to extradite Dr Patel from the US.

"That team will use the evidence obtained by the inquiry, as well as other evidence obtained themselves to prosecute Jayant Patel," he said.

"I assure members that the Government is committed to ensuring that Jayant Patel is swiftly brought to account for his actions.

"Everything will be done to bring him to justice.

"The patients and victims of Bundaberg expect nothing less."

Mr Beattie says Commissioner Davies has questioned the ability of governments to provide full, free health cover.

The Premier also says the Commissioner has pointed to the need for a national approach to health improvements.
Inquiries' cost

The Government has revealed that the Davies and Morris Inquiries, and the Forster health review, have cost taxpayers $16 million.

The Morris Inquiry cost $3 million, the Davies Inquiry $1 million and the Forster review, $1.1 million.

Queensland Health's legal costs were $4.6 million.

A total of $3 million has been set aside for compensation.

Other expenses include Medical Board costs and clinical assistance to patients.
Dragging the chain

Meanwhile in State Parliament this morning, the Opposition attacked the Government for the delay in extraditing Dr Patel.

Ahead of the Davies report, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg accused the Premier of dragging the chain on the Patel case.

"What practical steps are being taken by your government to actually bring him back here to face the legal music for his butchery in this state?" he said.

Mr Beattie says authorities are doing all they can.

"I'd love to see him behind bars," he said.

"But I'm the Premier and I have to accept due process and the law.

"And so does the Leader of the Opposition if he ever understood it."
 

2005 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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