The Queensland Health Ombudsman has been suspended over his response to information regarding a former Mater Hospital anaesthetic technician who faced court last week charged with fraud and assault.
A statement released by Health Minister Cameron Dick on Friday evening said Leon Atkinson-MacEwen had been suspended until the end of his contract on December 19.
"I requested information from the Health Ombudsman at the weekend regarding action he took after he was provided with information in June this year about a former Mater Health Services anaesthetic technician," Mr Dick said in a statement.
"An independent investigation, which may take a number of months to conclude, will now be initiated into the handling of this matter by the Health Ombudsman.
"The Deputy Queensland Ombudsman, Mr Andrew Brown, will be appointed acting Health Ombudsman. Mr Brown has previously acted in this position."
Evan Leslie Kajewski, the former Queensland Health employee who has brought about the downfall of Mr Atkinson-MacEwen, has been accused of attending operating theatres, taking fentanyl from the operating trolley and replacing it with a syringe he had prepared containing saline solution.
The offences allegedly took place between February and May and include stealing the drug fentanyl, a powerful opioid pain medication, while he was working at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.
Mr Kajewski, 39, resigned from the hospital and now works as a butcher. He was granted conditional bail when he faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday.
In documents tendered as part of the bail hearing, Detective Senior Constable Benjamin Caffery said Mr Kajewski's alleged actions put the lives of the affected patients in "serious jeopardy".
"The results of these actions could have been catastrophic and this investigation has shown that it was fortunate that no patients suffered as a result," he said.
"In cases, it was only the professionalism and expertise of the doctors performing the procedures that allowed for a successful procedure under the circumstances created by the defendant."