ANXIOUS residents of a small New England town have turned out in force to support a local doctor whose future is hanging under a malpractice cloud.
Emmaville GP John Liu, the only doctor at the local hospital, has been suspended by Hunter New England Health amid accusations of unsafe practices.
More than 100 residents crammed the Emmaville Memorial Hall this week in support of Dr Liu and expressed grave fears for the community’s health without a practising doctor at the local hospital.
Dr Liu is still able to practice at his GP clinic but has been suspended as the visiting medical officer at the hospital.
Hunter New England Health’s (HNEH) Dr Peter Finlayson told residents there had been “a considerable number of concerns” about Dr Liu’s clinical practice and the health service had launched an investigation.
He said “ensuring patient safety” was paramount.
“There are enough things that the community has not seen that are really concerning,” Dr Finlayson said.
Among other issues raised were suggestions of racism and bullying at the hospital and a number of reports of questionable practices by nursing staff.
“Bullying and racial prejudice is not accepted, full-stop,” Dr Finlayson said.
“We do not tolerate it. It is as simple as that.”
Responding to reports about nurses advising patients to transport themselves to Glen Innes District Hospital, Dr Finlayson admitted there had been incidents of unacceptable practice.
Dr Finlayson said the investigation was in the interests of providing the best possible service and ensuring patient safety, adding that if Dr Liu was found to be innocent, he would be allowed to return “almost immediately”.
Dr Liu could not be reached for comment.
– Glen Innes Examiner