Qld Health Minister apologises over morgue fridge farce
QUEENSLAND Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has been forced to apologise to furious Tara residents after a morgue fridge from the town's hospital was advertised for sale on a public community noticeboard.
In a farcical blunder, a Queensland Health employee working for the Darling Downs Health Service created a crude flyer for the 34-year-old piece of medical equipment - which was described as being in "good working condition" - and placed it in full view of the public outside the Tara Cafe.
Long-time Tara resident Liz Stephens said she "could not bloody believe it" when she saw the flyer, which included a grainy photo of the fridge and the revelation it belonged to Tara Health Service.
Ms Stephens admitted she had no issues with surplus equipment being sold but said she was irate that the creator of the flyer had shown "disrespect" by advertising it in the community it had been used in.
"I was devastated (and) absolutely disgusted in it," she said angrily.
"If it had just been a name and a phone number, we wouldn't have batted an eyelid, but because it said Tara Health Service, we all knew where it had come from.
"I think it's in very poor taste when it's on our public noticeboard (and) it shouldn't have been on a noticeboard in the town where it was used."
"It was obvious that protocol was not adhered to." - Health Minister Lawrence Springborg
Queensland Health has strict guidelines for the disposal of surplus equipment and Mr Springborg admitted to the Dalby Herald that posting a flyer on a noticeboard in a town's main street was not one of the authorised methods.
"I was bothered when I heard about the advertisement, as it was obvious that protocol was not adhered to," he said.
The Health Minister apologised to the community for the blunder and said he believed it would prove to be a "one-off" incident.
"I understand the staff member did not mean to deliberately upset anyone," he said.
"I know that this is a one-off mistake and I...apologise if anyone found the posting offensive."
The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service was also apologetic and a spokesperson admitted there had been a "lack of sensitivity" in the way the sale had been handled.
"The director of nursing has spoken to the staff member who posted the notice and reminded him of the appropriate channels to dispose of surplus equipment," the spokesperson said.
"The DDHHS regrets and apologises for any distress this matter has caused."