Sunday, November 11, 2018

Disputed Hospital Name Change Escalates with Queensland Government Lies and Cover-ups

Bruce Black and Avi Cohen -
B r i s b a n e ,   A u s t r a l i a - 

Reception at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital

Australia's Queensland Labor Government is rushing to implement the name change of the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital to the Queensland Children's Hospital as it emerges it has lied about the cancellation of its business names six months before the public consultation process.

The Queensland Labor Government was scrambling on Friday to push through the name change of the 'Lady Cilento Children's Hospital'. It emerged last week that the decision to change the name could have been made more than six months before any public consultation. As well as the growing public opposition to tearing down the name of one of Australia's great female pioneers from a building.

The results of the flawed online Queensland Health poll the government is using to support the name change is directly opposed to those conducted by the Courier-Mail. These found that 82 percent of Queenslanders do not want the name change while another poll conducted by the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland found 85 percent of nurses do not support a name change.

Calls are being made for an independent investigation and that Lady Cilento's name is kept on the public hospital.

The campaign to change the name has been led by Health Minister Steven Miles and agitator at the hospital Dr Ben Whitehead.

Documents from ASIC show that the Queensland Government lied. The records reveal the public hospital’s business name, 'Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital' as well as the associated business name 'Lady Cilento' were cancelled in January 2018, more than six months before Queensland Health launched the public consultation process.

A spokeswoman for Steven Miles told the Brisbane Times on Wednesday, “It was not cancelled; registration lapsed after ASIC's standard three-year registration period."

ASIC record shows name cancelled in January 2018
However, the documents show this is wrong. The ASIC records demonstrate that the 'Lady Cilento Children's Hospital' and the 'Lady Cilento' business names were renewed. They did not “lapse" after three years.

They were renewed on 4 September 2017 but were then cancelled on 18 January 2018. All other hospitals in Queensland have registered business names with ASIC.

The public hospital also appears to have traded without an ABN for nine months until it was registered as the Queensland Children's Hospital on 29 October 2018. In Australia it is illegal for any business to trade while unregistered.

It is believed the external research contracts the hospital entered into in the nine months between 18 January and 29 October 2018 could be invalid and parties with any contracts signed in those nine months may need to seek legal advice.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles
There are now public calls for a full investigation into this growing scandal amid an outcry that the Lady Cilento name should be kept on the hospital. It appears that a premeditated campaign wasted taxpayers money on public polls - heavily criticised by experts - with the aim of removing Lady Cilento's name from the public hospital.

“This evidence makes a mockery of the polling and focus groups, and shows that they were nothing but a waste of taxpayers’ time and money in an attempt to justify tearing down a pioneering Australian woman's name from a public building, one of only 3 percent in this country," said Giovanna Volpe Cilento, granddaughter of Lady Cilento.

“Lady Cilento is one of our great female pioneers and contributed 65 years of public service to Queensland as obstetrician, paediatrician, author, journalist, columnist, ABC broadcaster and women's activist.

“There are so few monuments and buildings in Australia named after women ~ let alone Australian doctors and scientists ~ and Labor is going to publicly take one of the only Queensland women off a children's hospital who devoted her life to the care of mothers and children."

Queensland Health poll never mentioned which
hospital was to have its name changed. The public
didn't know which hospital they were polled about.
Ms Volpe-Cilento was present at a meeting with the Health Minister where the report by Graham Young from the Australian Institute for Progress was presented showing that Queensland Health's online poll was flawed. There were also public protests at the time that the question made no mention of Lady Cilento's name so respondents did not know what they were voting for while votes could be cast any number of times and no comments were published on the official page.

“The Minister made no justification for this and he and his team could not give any compelling reason why the hospital name should be changed at a cost that realistically could run between $15-20 Million ~ not $500,000," said Ms Volpe-Cilento. "Plus changing the name and all the associated costs of the five Lady Cilento Hospital Schools ~ that has so far not been addressed by Labor."

“The argument that people don't know the hospital is public is a nonsense and could easily be corrected by calling it the 'Lady Cilento Children's Public Hospital' while claims that doctors could win more research grants without her name has also been proven to be false."

Lady Cilento writing as Mother MD
Lady Cilento was the only woman to graduate in her class in 1918. Her early work helped save women and children’s lives in the tropics, including Malaysia and New Guinea, by bringing modern medicine to local communities. Later, her pioneering work and advocacy for good nutrition, family planning and child care improved Queenslanders’ lives immeasurably.

She went on to undertake postgraduate work at hospitals in London and New York and became a prominent member of the Queensland women's movement and highly influential in children's public health. She is widely considered to have been ahead of her time in advocating natural childbirth, contraception and that fathers be present at the birth of their children.

She founded the Queensland Mothercraft Association, the Queensland branch of the Business and Professional Women's Club and was President of the Queensland Medical Women's Association and her work was honoured many awards including Queenslander of the Year and Life Membership of the Australian Medical Association.


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