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Health – Commission of Inquiry


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: Child Abuse, Launceston General Hospital, Commission of Inquiry

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I understand in the concurrent committee that the Premier has just announced he is committing to a commission of inquiry. Are you aware of that?

Ms COURTNEY - Yes, I am.

Dr WOODRUFF - On behalf of all the people who have contacted me about this, I can say how welcome that news is. This is truly an awful thing which we are coming to understand more details about. Only a commission of inquiry can properly uncover what has happened and the systemic abuse, as well as the links between different departments and the movement of abusers - which appears very likely - and also the active covering up, tampering or alteration of complaints that were made. That is excellent news, I am very pleased to hear that.

It has taken community outrage. It is a good point. It has taken a journalist - Camille Bianchi - who has done the hard work on behalf of victims and families. It is bit of a stain on your Government that it has taken you more than a year.

The question relates to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, AHPRA. In the podcast by journalist, Camille Bianchi, the national director of notifications of AHPRA, Mr Matthew Hardy, was asked about the circumstances that would trigger mandatory notification to AHPRA concerning the failure of hospital administrations or administrators to act appropriately and protect the public. Mr Hardy said on The Nurse podcast on 27 October that the AHPRA standards require that if you form a reasonable belief of a practitioner by concerns about a significant departure from accepted professional standards - the standards in the AHPRA guidelines, the national guidelines for registered practitioners - it could trigger an investigation.

I have been told a number of people have made formal complaints about people with clinical responsibilities at the LGH. By Mr Hardy's words, I take it that would trigger a mandatory notification; possibly not only of those individuals but of LGH management.

Are you aware that AHPRA is considering an investigation of some clinical managers or the clinical management at the LGH?

Ms COURTNEY - I cannot comment on what AHPRA might be doing - that is a matter for them. My expectation is that all the allegations that have either been raised in the media and you have outlined them here today, Dr Woodruff, will form part of the investigation of the Commission of Inquiry.

I am conscious that will mean a period of time, and indeed with the work that Maree Norton I expect is starting. The Premier has outlined that in his statement.

I have also tasked the secretary of the department to look at our processes, to ensure that we are looking at any immediate action that needs to be taken. I do not want to wait until we get a year down the track until we have findings to look at, and then make sure we are doing everything we can. That is part of work I have asked the secretary to undertake. My understanding is that work is currently being undertaken.

I am not going to comment on allegations that are currently being looked at. Considering that there is both an independent inquiry or the impending investigation I understand will form through to the commission of inquiry, those matters are for them to determine.

I will say on the record that I welcome these investigations. It is important for all of us within the system - as a minister of the Crown, but also as a community member - to ensure we have the most robust systems; to ensure we have accountability and clarity about how decisions are made. Making sure that they are embedded across all of our government systems is incredibly important. It is something that I and the Government, take very seriously.

I will, as will be the secretary of the department, be fully cooperating to ensure our system is as robust as it possibly can be. We cannot take a backward step on anything to do with the safety of children. I welcome the fact that we will look to this commission of inquiry to do that.

Dr WOODRUFF - The allegations that have been made on The Nurse podcast, are of active tampering of evidence of complaints and also alterations of electronic complaints, post the date that the complaint was made, to reduce the severity of the complaint and possibly other things, to remove information. These are very serious allegations, clearly something that a commission of inquiry would look into forensically and do forensic electronic audits, which is one of the reasons we have been calling for it in the first place. They are the only body that has that power.

Meanwhile, those allegations hang. If it is indeed a year before the commission of inquiry is completed - they are very serious allegations - any prospect the complaints could be badly handled or reduced in severity -

CHAIR - Question, Dr Woodruff?

Dr WOODRUFF - needs immediate action. What are you doing to specifically look into the issue of independence in complaints, and are you considering setting up an independent complaints area?

Ms COURTNEY - Regarding the work that the secretary is undertaking, I'll ask the secretary to respond to that. I am focussed on ensuring we have the right systems in place. As we move through this process I agree that we need to make sure we are taking action swiftly. We have ensured, through my interactions with this matter - with things that have been brought to my attention - appropriate referrals are made, whether that's through to the secretary of the Department of Communities, or whether that is a matter for police investigations.

There are some matters that are not appropriate for the department of Health to investigate because they are criminal in nature, so they are referred to the correct pathways. I'll ask the secretary to talk about the work that I've asked her to undertake, around how we can ensure that we are looking at the shorter-term actions as well, considering the fact that it might be up to a year, or perhaps even longer - I'm not sure, depending on how the commission of inquiry goes - that we have recommendations. So, I will ask the secretary.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Thank you. The minister referred to the fact that an internal review was commenced in October and information has been coming through to me from staff and from former staff and members of the public in relation to the matter.

In relation to complaints which have been lodged in an SRLS, and if I may speak generally for a moment, the SRLS system is a system that is used to gather information in relation to a variety of issues. Most commonly it is used in relation a safety event in terms of a clinical or medical treatment, or other workplace health and safety issue. In terms of an SRLS event, there is the ability for various people to access a record that's entered into the SRLS. There is an audit trail that is kept in relation to each entry into the SRLS and the adjustments that are made, and the system in itself does allow for the downgrading or upgrading of a risk rating that is applied to an SRLS event.

So, for example, an SRLS event might be entered as a SAC 1 severity. All SAC 1s get notified to me as secretary. It may be downgraded after review of the appropriate people in the authorising train for a SAC event. Regarding any issues that are raised in relation to the alteration of a record and SRLS, the system itself is designed to allow for further entry, but also an audit trail in relation to that. Regarding allegations in relation to destruction or alteration of a record, that evidence will be gathered from the system and provided to the independent investigator, Maree Norton, and now through to the commission of inquiry.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, you did say that you take this matter and child sex abuse very seriously. They're the sorts of words people expect a minister to say in a situation like this, but they expect it also to be backed by the evidence. The evidence is clearly that it's hard to accept the truth of that statement, given what has happened since Mr Griffin's death, and the so-called open disclosure process for staff.

Staff I've spoken to, and the allegations made by staff on the podcast, are very clear that the open disclosure process was a sham. It was not a process designed to fully provide an opportunity for staff to talk about the concerns they had about information being suppressed or not acted on.

I'd like you to explain exactly what you mean by the 'open disclosure' process that happened. Can you take us through what happened after Mr Griffin's death with staff? Exactly what was the process of that staffer involved with Mr Griffin's phone, and the photographs on Mr Griffin's phone that was made available from the police to the hospital?

Ms COURTNEY - I'll get the secretary to provide comment on the open disclosure process. I expect that all these matters will form part of both the independent investigator's investigation as well as the commission of inquiry. I'll get the secretary to outline the detail of the open disclosure process. If there are learnings that come through the commission of inquiry with regard to that process, then I welcome that. I acted on the advice that was provided, but I'll get Ms Morgan Wicks to talk through the process of open disclosure.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Through the minister, I might state at first, in terms of evidence that is collected by Tasmania Police in a criminal investigation, it remains at all times in the custody of Tasmania Police. So in terms of an open disclosure process, it has been one that has been carefully conducted in association with Tasmania Police.

In terms of Health, we don't get to see all the evidence that's held by Tasmania Police in relation to a criminal investigation. We get to see what Tasmania Police provides to us.

Certainly I haven't seen the evidence. A small number of staff members associated with 4K and the LGH were engaged by Tasmania Police to attempt to identify persons in the photographic evidence that had been shown to them. I'm informed, from my internal review, that on 29 October 2019 the THS was contacted by Tasmania Police to inform the hospital that alleged child exploitation photographic material had been uncovered during their investigation.

Dr WOODRUFF - What date, sorry?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - On 29 October, 2019, and to request assistance from the THS to identify the children in the photographs which were alleged to be a hospital setting.

A small number of patients were identified through this process. With the advice and the assistance of Tasmania Police, and also with appropriate social supports, open disclosure to families of the small number of identified patients has been completed. I have not viewed this evidence in question. At all times, it has remained in the custody of Tasmania Police.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Following up, perhaps the secretary could answer this question as well. I understand from what the secretary said that the evidence provided - and I understand the photographic evidence provided from Mr Griffin's phone, all of those photographs were looked at by appropriate nursing staff to identify any potential patients who had been in Ward 4K and all of those people that were identified as potential patients were notified or their families were contacted.

Ms COURTNEY - I think that Ms Morgan-Wicks said that. Obviously, the photographs that were provided were able to be viewed by this small number of staff. The police may have other evidence and that is a matter for police. The staff Ms Morgan-Wicks referred to within the THS that undertook this were doing so on the evidence it was provided by police.

Dr WOODRUFF - To continue that question and so with the evidence they were provided, every single person was looked through and identified as a patient or not a patient. Maybe Ms Morgan-Wicks could tell us how those staff were chosen, because it is alleged there wasn't an appropriate complement of staff who potentially had the past knowledge of patients, as well as current staff, so that older staff needed to be sourced to do that work. How was that work done?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Stepping back in terms of your question, I cannot confirm THS staff involved in the identification, have seen all photographs on any device. I can't confirm the device. It is a matter for Tasmania Police. I can only comment in relation to the photos that were provided to the THS. There may be more or other types of evidence held by Tas Police that we cannot comment. I wanted to clarify the all. In terms of all of the photos shown to THS employees, in terms of the small amount you are able distinguish, either a hospital setting or a facial feature, certainly those photographs were identified by the small team of staff members involved. An open disclosure process has been completed or disclosure in relation to those patients involved by those people.

Dr WOODRUFF - Sorry, what does that mean? You never clarified. What does 'open disclosure' mean?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - The concept of open disclosure, and particularly in a hospital setting, is one that hospitals will pursue. It is usually where there has been an adverse event in terms of an outcome of a patient's presentation at a hospital or surgical procedure for example, or otherwise to explain the care and treatment of a patient in hospital. It is a process that usually, for example, an executive director of medical services together with a treating team, would undertake with appropriate social supports. At times, a social worker or psychologist in terms of social supports to undertake a disclosure process with either the patient as an adult and a support person or, if the patient is a child, their parents or other support people that are involved. In this case open disclosure, given that it is quite rare in a criminal undertaking where Tasmania Police holds the evidence in relation to the matter, that it has to be conducted together with Tasmania Police given the custody of the evidence in question.

You asked how staff were chosen in relation to this matter. I know staff have raised with me concerns they have not all been involved in the identification of the photos. That is something that on risk and balance and also trauma to staff involved, the hospital has had to exercise judgment. We attempted to get a range across the staff members that were involved, given experience, et cetera. I also note in terms of the photos that were provided, we did ask in relation to date ranges, to try to identify, but that metadata was unable to be provided to us by Tasmania Police. It was only on the physical photos themselves.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, how many ex-patients of ward 4K were contacted by the LGH as a result of the open disclosure process?

Ms COURTNEY - I will see whether the secretary is able to comment on that.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Sorry, if you can repeat the question?

Dr WOODRUFF - How many ex patients of the LGH ward 4K were contacted as a result of the open disclosure process?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - My understanding is that it is three, but we are just confirming that number.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Minister, the allegations made directly to the charges that James Griffin had laid against him by the Tasmanian Police, and also the allegations made in The Nurse podcast, are not just of pornographic material that was taken of children, but also a range of other truly horrifying abuses, including sedation and touching of children. Not all of those may have been photographed clearly. It is alleged there are many instances where Mr Griffin misused his personality and trust to inappropriately spend time with children in a way that some victims have come forward and they feel it has affected them. Why did you decide that the open disclosure process would only include looking at the photographs that were provided by Tasmania Police?

Ms COURTNEY - Regarding the open disclosure process and the steps the department took, they acted on the information that was provided for them. I can't comment on what the other information the police may or may not have, or on other allegations that have come forward more recently. I don't know if they were a matter of police investigation. My understanding is the department acted on the information that they were aware of.

I would like to state very clearly, as I have previously, we have mechanisms for people to be able to come forward. I personally have had conversations with current and former staff regarding this matter. I want to make sure that people are supported, but also there is a mechanism for them to be able to come forward with their story and to have that looked into. Indeed, through the process the secretary has set up, has set up an email address and I believe a phone number as well within the department for any allegations, whether it is about a matter pertaining to an alleged activity or pertaining to the workplace in any way, so they can come forward.

I understand that moving through that process - with the right caveats around their confidentiality of mechanism, people have come forward, because we want to ensure that they are protected - that information will be provided to the independent investigator. It is important that people do come forward with the information they have.

Dr WOODRUFF - Did you consider contacting all patients who had been admitted to Ward 4K during the period of time that James Griffin was a nurse on that ward?

Ms COURTNEY - With regard to that matter, the department was undertaking an open disclosure process. Once that process was completed, it was my expectation that we would look at what further steps would be required.

Dr WOODRUFF - I find that really hard to believe, given it was October this year until anybody in the Launceston community really heard about what had happened as a result of a journalist doing a podcast. That is a year after you started the open disclosure statement. Were you ever considering contacting patients who had been admitted to Ward 4K while he was a nurse?

Ms COURTNEY - It was a year after we had commenced a process, based on the information that was provided to us by police.

Dr WOODRUFF - That is a very long time.

CHAIR - Order, Dr Woodruff.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, Tasmania Police have confirmed that they began investigating allegations against James Griffin in May 2019. The Police minister knew about this investigation in August 2019. As Health minister did you know about this at the same time?

Ms COURTNEY - I can't comment on what the Police minister knew when or where. I can comment on when I was advised, and I was advised of the revocation of the Working with Vulnerable People on the 31 July.

Dr WOODRUFF - On 31 July?

Ms COURTNEY - Correct.

Dr WOODRUFF - Was that the same time the Police minister became aware of it?

Ms COURTNEY - You'll have to ask the Police minister. That is a matter for him. I don't know when he became aware of things.

Mr CHAIR - Ms O'Byrne.

Dr WOODRUFF - Chair, I have a second question.

Mr CHAIR - And you have already had 10 questions, so I am going to Ms O'Byrne.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the concern people in the community have and a number of staff have voiced from the LGH is the process that has been identified by LGH management or THS - I am not sure who is involved for this investigation - has always been about keeping things as quiet as possible.

It just simply doesn't pass the pub test in the community you as Health minister would be aware of the enormous ramifications of not only what Mr Griffin was charged with, but the subsequent allegations voiced by staff. You didn't make some global statement to the community of concern and alert people who may have had children in the ward to the fact this person had worked there and expressed concerns and offered an opportunity for people to come forward publicly.

Can you please explain why you did not step up that process and make a public statement when you really understood the implications of what had happened in November last year?

Ms COURTNEY - With regard to the information provided, I have talked before, as has the secretary, about the information disclosed by Tasmania Police to the department. Recently there has been a lot more information come to light. I want to be really clear I was not aware of that, nor was the secretary of the department. When further information came to light through various mechanisms we acted swiftly.

Dr WOODRUFF - Do you think it's a problem you weren't aware of that information that you, as Health minister and the secretary there had been some blockage you weren't getting that information? That is really very concerning.

Ms COURTNEY - This is where I think the positive thing of the independent investigation, as well as the commission of inquiry are to look at the processes and procedures around matters such as this. It is important people feel safe to be able to come forward with matters of this nature. We want to make sure we have cultures within our organisations as well as in our communities that drive and foster the support of victims to be able to come forward and be supported and have their stories acted upon on in the appropriate mechanisms.

With regard to this matter, I have an expectation all these matters will be looked at through the independent investigator, as well as the commission of inquiry. I have an expectation there will be learnings for Government and there will be learnings for the whole community considering the breadth of the allegations that have to light and the extent of them.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, a young journalist acting on her own, not even based in Tasmania, was able to uncover details about the extent and extreme seriousness of the abuses that occurred on Ward 4K more effectively than the Tasmanian Health Service or LGH management. Why did staff feel they had to go to this journalist in desperation? Her podcast alleges staff said they were being shut-down by management at the LGH and were not able to speak out. Why did staff feel that they needed to take that step?

Ms COURTNEY - I want to be very clear in my message to staff: we want them to come forward. You can come forward through a range of mechanisms and you will be supported. It is very important through this process that allegations can be looked into and investigated appropriately, whether the allegations are about the deceased nurse or about our systems within the THS now or historically. I expect all those will be looked through in the independent investigation and the commission of inquiry. I understand the terms of reference for the independent investigation were drafted so this information could be looked at.

As Minister for Health, I am very keen that we fully understand the circumstances around the deceased former nurse. That is paramount. However, it is also important to ensure our systems are as robust as they can be and that the culture supports those systems.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, with respect, the question was about the past, not what you are doing now. Why did they feel they had to take that step in November last year?

Ms COURTNEY - It would be wrong of me -

Dr WOODRUFF - Was it the iron-grip of control over the management wanting to shut down any conversation in the community about this? They are such serious accusations?

Ms COURTNEY - I do not think that is appropriate. It is not appropriate for me to talk about the mind-set of a worker within the LGH at a period of time.

Dr WOODRUFF - You are not interested in what was going on?

Ms COURTNEY - That is rubbish.

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, please do not interrupt.

Ms COURTNEY - I have spoken to both current and former staff at the LGH and I have assured them we want them to come forward. We want their stories to be heard and we will provide the support that is most appropriate to them.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. The secretary commented earlier that only the police have a role in investigating serious allegations like this and getting to the bottom of those matters. That is not true, minister. The Health Department itself has already done an internal investigation and now has called for an independent investigation.

Ms COURTNEY - To clarify - the internal investigation I requested the secretary of the department to undertake, is ongoing. That investigation is not complete. As I said earlier, because of the time frames around the independent investigation or the commission of inquiry, if there are immediate learnings I expect to implement them now. When we are talking about such serious allegations, I do not think it is appropriate to simply wait for 12 months before action is taken. As the secretary said, she will provide the investigator with all the information she can, considering the confidentiality that covers people who have come forward. We will cooperate fully.

Dr WOODRUFF - I did not get to ask my question. The question was, minister, what triggered the independent investigation, which you only announced last month? Why didn't you take steps to do that last year?

Ms COURTNEY - As I have said publicly before, I became aware of more information.

Dr WOODRUFF - What was that further information?

CHAIR - Order, Dr Woodruff.

Ms COURTNEY - I am not going into conversations I have had with current and former staff.

Dr WOODRUFF - It came to light after we asked questions in parliament obviously. Minister, what triggered the independent investigation?

Ms COURTNEY - As I have stated many times now - further information came to light. Obviously, there was public reporting. Let me be clear: I was not aware of the nature of a lot of the allegations that were reported. There was also engagement with current and former staff. There was a range of different sources of information that came to me.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I'm not sure if you are in a position today to release or tell us about the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry but I want to raise something with you about those terms of reference. As you would know, the medical sector in Launceston is characterised by a significant overlap between public and private practices. The paediatric unit at the LGH is the only dedicated unit for children. The private laboratory, Launceston Pathology, has a monopoly on pathology services. Medical practitioners in private practice regularly attend to children in both public and private medical settings. How will you make sure - and will you make sure - that the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry include the power to compel evidence from private sector practitioners who are not employed by the state but may have had access to children at Ward K?

Ms COURTNEY - Thank you, Dr Woodruff. The Premier has stated this morning he will be taking advice on the terms of reference over coming weeks so I can't comment on what will be contained in them. I expect the Premier will consider a range of areas which need to be encompassed in the terms of reference, based on the appropriate mechanisms and advice. I expect the terms of reference will have the breadth to ensure any matters pertaining to this can be fully looked at.

Dr WOODRUFF - I will highlight there are real concerns that James Griffin was not only abusing children on ward 4K himself, but was facilitating the access of other abusers to ward 4K to have access to children. I want the public record to note there is a need for this commission of inquiry to be wide in its powers and not solely focused on the public system in this particular case.

Ms COURTNEY - Let me say very clearly - if anybody, whether it's a member of parliament or a member of the community, has any information pertaining to a criminal act against a child, please make sure that they are referred to police. I expect you would do so, Dr Woodruff, if it came to your attention.

It's a really important message - if anybody is aware of allegations of illegal activity when it comes to care for our children, please make sure these are referred to the police. We have the protocols within our systems of reporting to ensure that referrals are made, and mandatory reporting takes place. I repeat, if any member of parliament has any information pertaining to a crime, please tell police.

Dr WOODRUFF - You know how the Greens operate. Our record speaks for itself.

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, I'm giving the call to Ms O'Byrne.

Dr WOODRUFF - I've only had one question, Chair. That was one question and I have had a long gap in questions.

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, please don't question the rotation. You have done better than the other two people sitting at this table who have asked questions so far this morning. I can show you the numbers at the morning tea break. Ms O'Byrne.

 

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, we are coming to understand there is a generation of children in Launceston who went to ward 4K. Has the department looked at the number of children who were exposed to James Griffin while he was working as a nurse in 4K? How are you speaking to children - or maybe now adults - and their families who are coming to terms with the public information about what occurred and asking themselves what happened to them or their children? We hear stories of adults understanding things they had suppressed or not thought of as children. How many children are we talking about, and what are you saying to those people now? What support are you providing?

Ms COURTNEY - I know there is a significant amount of distress in the community. I have spoken to a number of families who have had children who have spent time in that ward 4K. This information has been new and extraordinary distressing for many families and many people in the community. We have stood up the independent investigation, being done by Ms Maree Norton. The independent inquiry will be a way for people to come forward. The internal review being undertaken by the secretary provides mechanisms for employees and people in the community to come forward with information. I know they will consider what support they can provide and what referrals need to be made. We have also referred on a number of occasions to the support services that are available in the community for victims of any kind of sexual assault.

I encourage anybody who has been impacted to seek the help they need and to come forward to authorities to ensure your story is heard, and the matters are referred to the appropriate mechanisms to be acted on.

Dr WOODRUFF - You did not answer how many children have been through the ward.

Ms COURTNEY - Over that period of time?

Dr WOODRUFF - Eighteen years while Mr Griffin was working there as a nurse.

Ms COURTNEY - I would not have that information.

Dr WOODRUFF - It seems an important piece of information for us to understand.

Ms COURTNEY - I do not think we would even have a system to be able to track over what is an extensive period of time.

Ms O'BYRNE - You would be required to keep the records.

Dr WOODRUFF - Surely there must be records of numbers and admissions and it has gone to the Commonwealth Government - and you know there has been funding as a basis of that information.

Ms COURTNEY - I'm more than happy for the secretary to provide further advice.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Through the minister, I don't have a number of patients over the 27 years. We would have to try to piece together Mr Griffin's rostering information over an extensive period of time. We know that information is not currently available to us in a single source in our information system - and that is why I am very pleased to receive funding for a new HRIS system in this year's budget so that rostering information can be stored and held electronically and connected to payroll information, and so on. It's a significant investment being made into HR systems. We have had to try to piece together electronic and paper records and also verbal recollections of staff members involved in the Mr Griffin matter.

Dr WOODRUFF - I suggest you might need to do that work sooner rather than later because it is alleged that complaints were made as early as 2002 and 2003 - we are talking about complaints of alleged abuse happening 18 years ago. It is important to understand the exposure the abuser had to children and what numbers we are talking about. Minister, I believe you and the Department of Health need to consider taking responsibility for providing counselling and support, rather than just sending them off to other services in the community. They may be appropriate for particular things but generally the department needs to put some more resources into counselling for people.

CHAIR - Do you have a question, Dr Woodruff?

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes. Will that happen?

Ms COURTNEY - We are putting more resources into supporting people who need it through this process. I will ask the secretary to provide further comment.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - THS is aware of three victims, through the open disclosure process. I am not aware of all the victims Tasmania Police have spoken with, or of the support that's usually provided by Tasmania Police or by the Department of Justice, for example. A criminal matter usually proceeds through the court and very careful support is provided to victims to appear as witnesses. This matter did not proceed to that outcome, and victims did not have their information provided or their right to speak in a court process. Support has been offered to the three victims THS is aware of, for the open disclosure process. One of the three refused to participate in the open disclosure process and did not want to receive the information.

Ms O'BYRNE - That's six then.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Sorry - three were in the open disclosure process that I have specified.

There are nine incidents and allegations we have been able to piece together in terms of our review. That process has involved searches of all of our systems and also calls to our staff members and to the public, to come forward with information so we can validate we have records relating to each of the incidents or allegations against Mr Griffin.

Dr WOODRUFF - Excuse me, including to past staff members?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Yes, I have been contacted by past staff members.

Dr WOODRUFF - You have made calls to past staff members?

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - Public calls have been made through the minister to encourage people to come forward with information to our public telephone number and also our public email address should they wish to provide a protected interest disclosure to the department.

I have shared with staff members on Ward 4K, there is nothing in the nine complaints or alleged incidents to indicate serious criminal sexual abuse, and that from our review of the nine complaints or alleged incidents over 27 years, that they related to professional nursing boundary complaints.

I also make the comment that when a staff member wishes to make a complaint about another staff member, they also need to be aware of their own mandatory reporting obligations. If they consider it is a step beyond a professional boundary, they need to consider whether it should be referred to Tasmania Police. I have shared this with staff, and acknowledge we need to do better to with staff training and continued education, so that if they receive any allegation or are concerned about any matter that they see on the ward, while they are practising, that they have an easy and simple referral pathway.

That referral pathway could be to Tasmania Police; or a mandatory report under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act, in terms of a protection of a child; or a mandatory notification to the Australian Professional Health Practitioner Regulation Authority - AHPRA - in relation to professional registration.

Ms COURTNEY - All this information, Chair, will be provided and these will be a matter for the commission of inquiry.