The Shadow for Health will be urging the powerful Estimates and Financial Operations Committee* to investigate the McGowan Governments coverup of deaths associated with a legionella contamination at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“There has been at least two deaths of patients who have been associated with the legionella contamination at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in April 2020 and October last year, and it is concerning the McGowan Government have been caught trying to cover up this issue,” said Libby Mettam.

Recent evidence provided through a Freedom of Information document uncovered by the West Australian has confirmed that there has at least been one other patient who has died with legionella infection after contamination issues were examined at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“These documents confirmed that there has been a series of legionella infections at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital over the past two years with results 70 times higher than safe levels.

“It is deeply distressing to see the McGowan Government try to cover up the deaths that have happened under their watch associated with the legionella outbreak issues that were raised by the Opposition in November last year.”

Legionella bacteria was discovered during the post mortem of a patient who died in October last year, though cause of the death was not known.

“The FOI evidence indicates that there was at least another death in April 2020, raising the real questions about what else the McGowan Government has to hide into this serious matter?

The Opposition raised concerns regarding the legionella contamination in the Parliament last year, but were quickly dismissed by the McGowan Government.

“These concerns were raised by health workers and patients’ families, but when questioned the former Health Minister implied they were false,” Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said.

After dismissing concerns in the Legislative Assembly the former Minister for Health was then forced to admit legionella had been detected, raising concerns about patient safety and the lack of transparency from this government.

The bacterial contamination had led to the intermittent closure of beds at the hospital.

“It’s clear this government does not care about its so-called ‘Gold Standard Transparency’ promise and is willing to say anything to detract from its own failings, even when it is such a serious public health issue.

“It’s concerning the WA public continue to be kept in the dark about a public health issue as serious as this.

“I will be writing to the Estimates Committee to urge them to consider an investigation into the coverup that has occurred regarding these deaths under the McGowan Governments watch.”

*The Estimates and Financial Operations Committee is the Parliaments only non-government
majority committee