A Launceston surgeon whose patients were potentially exposed to an alleged pedophile is speaking out.
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke has called out systematic and administrative failures within the Tasmanian Health Service for enabling the actions of paediatric nurse James Geoffrey Griffin to go undetected.
Dr Fettke, who worked at the LGH for more than 25 years including alongside Mr Griffin, said the majority of hospital staff, including himself, did not know about the alleged crimes.
However, he said it was clear that staff at the hospital were aware of complaints against Mr Griffin between 2009 and 2019, and those responsible for keeping it quiet should now be held accountable.
"I can't think of a more heinous crime than a pedophile on a children's ward," Dr Fettke said.
"When you have vulnerable children and vulnerable families in what is probably the most trusted environment in society - to have that trust violated is completely devastating.
"We have a situation where there has been a failure of process.
"But more importantly, there has been ongoing damage to children when the administration and the hospital clearly had the potential to remove this fellow, from an environment that continued to enable this behaviour.
"That is unforgivable. That is a criminal situation - you have aided and abetted a pedophile to stay on a children's ward."
Dr Fettke described the allegations against Mr Griffin as one of the worst crimes in Tasmania's history, with a generation of potential victims now deserving of answers.
A class action investigation has been launched against the THS in response to the claims. Health Minister Sarah Courtney also announced a review into the THS's policies and processes.
Health industry watchdog AHPRA said it became aware of the allegations against Mr Griffin on August 1, 2019, with Griffin surrendering his registration a week later on August 8.
Ms Courtney said she was advised of the course of action at this time, with the THS taking immediate actions, suspending Mr Griffin from work.
She said the THS also actively encouraged staff to come forward with any details that may assist police, along with an open disclosure process for any impacted patients who were identified, and their families.
"I can assure the community that the government will take any action that is necessary, and any actions being taken will of course be communicated publicly and to our staff," she said.
Dr Fettke said he recognised that most of the alleged crimes did not happen during Ms Courtney's reign as Health Minister, but said it was up to her to make it right.
"I don't think we should rest until this is brought out into the open and that there's closure to some degree for the victims and the potential victims," he said.
"You only have to look at all the stuff that has happened in the Catholic church to know that until the people involved are brought to justice, the victims do not rest."
Dr Fettke said he was devastated AHPRA had not been notified sooner, but said they could only act on what they knew.
"If they were not notified, then it points to an internal issue within the THS and at the LGH," he said.
"There is no way something like this wouldn't be escalated up to the most senior levels within the system. There is no way someone didn't know about this, at some level."
Dr Fettke left the THS after being formally cautioned by AHPRA in 2016, but had all charges dropped against him two years later along with a formal apology.
National sexual assault support: 1800 RESPECT, Laurel House (03) 6334 2740 (Launceston), (03) 6431 9711 (Burnie and Devonport), Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) on 1800 697 877.