For Your Information

The following news item appeared on the Stuff website today. Karma has such a lovely sound. Rhymes with schadenfreude. In one word the Indians and Germans can say, “I bloody well told you.”

While the screams of innocence can be heard on both sides of the Tasman I doubt that Courts award $1.4 million for nothing and insurers never decline the chance to appeal when someone has done such “amazing stuff”. At $1.4 million it clearly was super amazing.

The line I enjoyed most was, “Talk to anyone I’ve worked with in the health system.” Now there is an invitation and a half. I worked with Turner – not in the health service – so let’s talk. All emails will get a reply.

However one fact is clear – with this news my court claim against Swimming New Zealand has just increased out of sight. There is no way anything that happened in Australia could be worse than I have been through in New Zealand for four years. Swimming New Zealand and the Swim Coaches Association had a responsibility to protect members like me. Just as the Queensland Health Board appears to have failed, Swimming New Zealand failed in that duty as well. I hope their pockets are as deep as the Queensland Health Board. I am taking legal advice on the amount to take to the Court, but early suggestions are over $1.0 million.

Here is the Stuff article – read and enjoy.

Health board candidate Susan Turner at centre of $1.4m payout, but says ‘I’m not a bully’

A Capital and Coast DHB candidate cost the Queensland government AUD$1.4 million in a 2017 negligence and mismanagement lawsuit.

However, Susan Turner says it was a “manufactured” case.

Turner said she had not mismanaged tensions between the complainant Mary-Rose Robinson and two other Cape York Hospital and Health Service employees and was not a bully, but had achieved “amazing stuff” as Cape York HHS chief executive.

The case, which was decided in August 2017, found Turner had demonstrated “appalling managerial misconduct” and “contemptuous disregard” which contributed to a “psychological injury” to Robinson.

Turner took on the role, working out of Weipa Hospital in Queensland’s far north, in January 2010. She resigned in April 2014.

Previous to Turner’s employment, tensions had arisen between Robinson, the district director of nursing, and two other employees.

Judge James Henry found Turner was aware of the conflict but had mismanaged the situation and exacerbated it by humiliating, isolating and undermining Robinson, including yelling at her in a meeting.

Robinson had asked to be transferred to another location to continue her duties but when this was denied, she left the profession.

Psychiatric opinion in the decision stated the then 59-year-old Robinson was “now rendered totally and permanently incapacitated from undertaking any … employment”.

Previous to the injury, she had been described as the “rock” of her family, “competent” and “well regarded” with no history of psychological or psychiatric problems.

The judge found the State of Queensland vicariously liable for Turner’s negligence as her employer, and awarded Robinson AUD$1,468,991 for damages, economic loss and future expenses.

On Wednesday, Turner said she had not mismanaged Robinson’s conflict with the two other employees.

“I believe I gave her the right kind of support.

“I did some amazing stuff over there. That’s what I find quite sad. Talk to anyone I’ve worked with in the health system … I’ve been a disrupter and innovator.

“You can’t do that kind of level of change if you’re a bully.”

The outcome of the trial had been “devastating”, “unfair” and “unjust”.

“I was supported by director general … he had a lot of confidence in me.”

She had left the role voluntarily due to a number of factors, and the Queensland Government had given her “a really, really good payout” upon resigning.

She said an appeal had been lodged, but insurers were not willing to back it.

A Queensland Government Department of Health spokeswoman said the department “does not provide comment on past employees”.

On her candidate profile on the Wellington City Council website, Turner describes herself as bringing a “fresh approach” with “extensive experience within an international context”.

“I am responsive to communities and staff where I have demonstrated by listening has led to transformative change in health – leading health towards to eradicating institutionalised racism.”

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