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Reports - 30 doctors leave Defence - Rear Admiral Walker to be called before Senate Inquiry

These reports are about two separate issues, but both involve the Defence Force and its medical services.   Rear Admiral Walker is central in each.

Here's today's story from The Australian reporting 30 doctors abruptly leaving the Defence Force:

Doctor exodus over new e-health system rocks Defence

The Department of Defence has been rocked by the abrupt resignation of about 30 doctors who hold grave fears for the new e-health system that they believe compromises patient safety.

The Joint eHealth Data and Information, or JeHDI, project started in early 2011 but was beset with a multitude of problems that led to a $110 million cost blowout.

Funding was approved in June 2009, with the project delivered three years past its original deadline.

The Australian has been told that many problems remain despite the system going live late last year.

The doctors, contracted to ­Defence through Aspen Health, have ceased working on the Defence account due to the department’s recently launched e-health platform. Sources said the departures were from Victoria, Queensland, NSW and South Australia.

Their main concern was that a Defence personnel’s e-health record could be altered by another party — a nurse, for example. A nurse could access the record and change the patient details originally entered by a doctor.

A Defence spokeswoman said it was “aware of a small number” of departure but that was a matter for the individuals and Aspen.

And this from last week:

Australian defence officials called to Senate Inquiry into military suicides

A SENATE Inquiry will demand an explanation from the head of defence health Rear Admiral Robyn Walker about the growing number of suicides in the military.

Rear Admiral Walker is the subject of an online petition that has attracted 6635 signatures and 350 pages of comments demanding her removal over comments she has made distancing military service from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Veterans Affairs spokesman for the Greens, Tasmanian Senator and Australian Defence Force Academy graduate Peter Whish-Wilson will today introduce a motion calling for a Senate Inquiry into veterans mental health issues.

The minister also announced that mental health screening for ADF personnel would be rapidly expanded to apply to all personnel and not just those who had been deployed on operations.

He also pledged to “normalise” mental health so it had the same status as physical health and to destigmatise the issue so people put up their hands if they had a problem.

Mr Robert supported claims by Rear Admiral Walker that rates of PTSD and suicide were very low in the ADF.

The minister’s statement came as the ground swell of support for an online petition calling for the removal of Rear Admiral Walker continued to soar.

The petition on has attracted 6635 signatures and 350 pages of comments including 2000 signatures in just one night last Saturday.

Rear Admiral Walker has been slammed for her “insensitive” comments about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which she blamed on factors other than military service.