Canberrans are paying for health data issues

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ACT taxpayers are footing a $12.6 million bill to fix controversial health data problems developed under successive ACT Labor governments, says Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne.

Vicki Dunne.

Mrs Dunne says the accuracy of health data has been under heightened scrutiny since the data tampering scandal under former Health Minister and now Senator Katy Gallagher.

According to Mrs Dunne, almost 12,000 patient records were manipulated between 2009 and 2012 to make The Canberra Hospitals’ emergency department performance look good.

In the years that followed, she says ongoing data problems led to the absence of key health data for the ACT in annual Productivity Commission reviews, which meant the ACT government was unable to publish quarterly health reports for more than two years.

Mrs Dunne says the ACT Auditor-General recently criticised ACT Health’s attempt to fix data problems, saying it was “not effective” and lacked transparency and clarity on how data upgrades were being delivered.

“The government’s lack of integrity in the management of health data has been diabolical. It is costing both health consumers and taxpayers dearly,” she says.

“Canberrans are now paying a very high price to clean up this mess, without any guarantee that the problems will ultimately be resolved.

“Of course, the real victims of the ongoing data scandal are patients. Health data is critical to the delivery of safe and efficient health care. Inaccurate or missing health data undeniably comprises patient safety.

“I have no doubt that many patients have actually endured prolonged suffering because inaccurate, manipulated or missing health data has compromised the delivery health care.”

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