Posted on 23. Jan, 2013 in News

The State Labor Party has asked the Ombudsman to investigate the circumstances surrounding the systemic theft by paramedics of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl, following reports of a patient who died after allegedly receiving a dose of salt water instead of the painkiller.

Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health Wade Noonan said it was appropriate that the Ombudsman conduct an investigation, after the Government refused to acknowledge community concerns.

“David Davis has known about this problem for three months, but has chosen to ignore the State Opposition’s calls for a broader investigation,” Mr Noonan said.

“The Baillieu Government has refused to explain how widespread their investigation was and whether the substitution of Fentanyl for tap water contributed in any way to the deaths of unsuspecting patients.

“The Victorian Coroner has recently confirmed that they are investigating the death of a Yarrawonga woman following complaints from her family about the Fentanyl scandal.”

“It is horrific to think that patients, who were badly in pain, may have been administered something that had absolutely no effect on relieving the pain they were in.

“It is also horrific to think that this could have contributed to more serious and tragic circumstances.”

“There are, no doubt, families across Victoria who have been affected by this scandal and the Government hasn’t provided them any answers at all.”

Mr Noonan said the Ombudsman needs to investigate Ambulance Victoria’s claims from October last year that the drug theft had not contributed to any patients being harmed.

“This is a difficult issue: there could be people that were administered something other than the drug and suffered medical complications or have subsequently passed away,” he said.

“Instead of sweeping the issue under the carpet, Mr Baillieu and Mr Davis should be upfront with the community and outline how widespread the issue is and what action – if any – the Government has taken.”

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