Published: 30 August, 2013
by ANDREW JOHNSON
THE chief of an Australian hospital that became embroiled in a data-fixing scandal last year has been appointed to a senior role at the embattled Whittington Hospital in Archway.
Lee Martin quit his post as director general of Canberra Hospital in January and returned to Britain, where he is from, in the wake of the scandal that engulfed the Australian capital city.
His resignation followed revelations in April 2012 that a senior executive at the Canberra Hospital had tampered with the records of 11,700 emergency department patients between 2009 and 2012 to make it look like they had been treated more quickly than they had.
The executive director of critical care, who admitted falsifying the statistics, Kate Jackson, told an investigation that she blamed the “environment” at the hospital, claiming she “felt fearful for myself and for other people that I work with”.
However, hospital chiefs denied this and the inquiry also found that the data tampering was the work of more than one person.
The scandal led to public hearings before Canberra’s Public Accounts Committee, which were attended by Mr Martin.
There is no suggestion he was aware of or had been involved in the data rigging.
According to the Australian CityNews.com website, which reported the proceedings: “Mr Martin could not confirm or deny that he was the supervisor mentioned in the disgraced executive’s statement in the report by the auditor-general, who she believed was putting intense pressure on her to improve performance data.”
Mr Martin, who was on sick leave for six months before quitting, said: “It’s not that black or white... people can interpret things I say differently compared to others.”
The hospital’s head Dr Peggy Brown did “admit there had been complaints about Mr Martin’s managerial style from other employees, but that they had been addressed” the article added.
Dr Yi Mien Koh, chief executive of Whittington Health said: “The Trust was aware of Lee Martin’s position in Canberra, Australia, and the data issues at the hospital. These started prior to his appointment in Canberra. Once Lee became aware of the situation, he requested an external review.
“Lee was appointed Whittington Health’s chief operating officer in June following an external advertisement and competitive recruitment process. He has extensive knowledge and experience of health service management in hospitals and integrated care organisations.”