What Freedom Of Speech Do Tasmanian Doctors And Nurses Have?

What Freedom Of Speech Do Tasmanian Doctors And Nurses Have?

Tasmania Shadow Minister for Health Jeremy Rockliff

Green-Labor Government Gags Doctors And Nurses

Victor P Taffa

The Minister today claimed she would not take action against anyone speaking out about issues they are passionate about but only yesterday her own department distributed a thinly veiled threat against doctors and nurses who might speak at rallies arranged by the AMA and ANF, * Shadow Minister for Health Jeremy Rockliff said today.

““Reminding” public servants of their obligations under the State Service Code of Conduct mere hours before a public forum are not a coincidence, it’s a gag order.” Mr. Rockliff said.

“People are dying waiting for treatment and it’s abundantly clear that the Green-Labor Government do not want doctors and nurses speaking out about the devastating effects of their budget cuts on the Tasmanian health system and its patients.”

 

“Our doctors and nurses are at the coal face of our health system, they know exactly what is going on in our hospitals. They must be allowed to speak honestly, without fear of reprisal from a defensive and heartless Green-Labor Government.” Mr. Rockliff said.

*Extract of “reminder” to DHHS staff attached

Please see below some advice that you may utilise in discussing with employees their involvement/attendance and expectations in regard to employee behaviour at these forums:

  • It is understood these community forums are being held across the 3 regions in the evenings.  Where attendance at a forum would require an employee to be absent from the workplace an employee is required to request leave in the normal way for any workplace absence; approval would be at the manager’s discretion based on operational requirements.
  • All employees should be reminded of their obligations as a State Service employee and the State Service Code of Conduct.  In particular the State Service Code of Conduct requires that ‘an employee must maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings of, and information acquired by, the employee in the course of that employee’s State Service employment’ and that ‘an employee must at all times behave in a way that does not adversely affect the integrity and good reputation of the State Service’.  This means that an employee may not, at such a community forum, release confidential information relating to the DHHS and/or patients/clients that they have been made privy to in the course of their duties; for example information regarding trends in treatment or patient flow and in particular information that may jeopardise patient confidentiality.

If an employee, in attending a community forum, acts in a way contrary to the above, it may be considered to constitute a possible breach of the State Service Code of Conduct.