Staff working on the paediatric ward at the Launceston General Hospital are "incredibly distressed" by allegations their deceased former colleague James Geoffrey Griffin was a paedophile, the state's nurses' union says.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's comments came in the wake of the state government's announcement that it would be standing up an independent inquiry into Mr Griffin's time at the hospital and how his alleged crimes could have gone undetected.
ANMF Tasmanian branch secretary Emily Shepherd welcomed the news that an inquiry would be established and highlighted the emotional toll the matter had taken on staff on Ward 4K, where Mr Griffin used to work.
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"It is an extremely hard time for all nurses and midwives at the moment seeing as they join their professions in order to treat and care for others and it is particularly difficult for those staff who work on Ward 4K," she said.
"The Ward 4K nurses are exemplary nurses who are extremely dedicated to their patients and their families; they like many members of the community have been incredibly distressed by the allegations that have been made public and are working hard as a team to move forward in a positive and constructive way, which the ANMF have every confidence they will do."
Ms Shepherd said it was important that anyone who presents to the inquiry is afforded indemnity so that they can give evidence freely and without fear.
Deputy Opposition Leader and former health minister Michelle O'Byrne said Labor was pleased that the government was establishing an inquiry.
"I understand that the person's work-mates were very grieved when he passed away but more grieved when they discovered what kind of person they'd been working with," she said.
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- James Geoffrey Griffin named as the LGH paedophile nurse charged in 2019
- Investigation, but no inquiry into child sex allegations
"I think any minister would be concerned if this occurred on their watch," she said. "And I think an independent assessment of what occurred and why proper investigations were not done at the time is absolutely crucial."
Australian Medical Association Tasmania branch president Helen McArdle said all patients deserved to feel safe.
"We hope the findings of the inquiry can come forward with constructive recommendations that will ensure people are safe, but that is not so punitive that it makes it impossible for the majority of high-quality staff who continue to provide the very best of patient care," she said.
Any member of the public who wishes to provide information to the inquiry should do so via email@example.com.
- 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.
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