What a very curious statement made under privilege in the Senate by independent senator John Crown (See full statement below).
The senator makes extremely serious allegations not just against staff at St. Vincent’s hospital where he works as a consultant oncologist but also against staff in other organisations.
The senator’s statement is curious because of its timing.
Eleven years ago in 2002 Crown discovered that staff of the hospital had been deliberately and fraudulently charging private health insurers in respect of cancer drugs which had been provided to that institution for free.
He notified the relevant authorities, the Irish Medicines Board at the time. An investigation began but was inexplicably stopped and reformatted several days later.
And there, it appears, the matter was laid to rest.
Now, eleven years on, the senator suddenly feels the need to have the matter further investigated.
He claims that new documents that have recently come into his possession and the increased scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee are the reasons for his new enthusiasm for an investigation.
But there’s something not right about this sudden enthusiasm for further investigation.
For example; senator Crown tells us that he has long been troubled, on many fronts, about how his hospital and other hospitals do their business.
That’s a wide-ranging allegation apparently covering many matters in many hospitals. We need chapter and verse from the senator on exactly what matters and what hospitals he’s referring to.
The senator also needs to answer some other questions; for example.
Why didn’t he pursue the very serious allegations of fraud in 2002?
Why, when the Irish Medicines Board effectively stopped investigating the matter, didn’t he report the matter to other authorities like the Gardai?
Was he the one that suffered substantial intimidation at the time? If he was, did he tell anybody about it, did he make a complaint?
If not him, then who and what action, if any, was taken by him or other relevant authorities?
Why, given that the senator is not exactly shy about speaking his mind on a whole range of matters, has he remained silent on this matter for so many years?
We need a much fuller account from the senator otherwise it may look like he’s a rat abandoning a sinking ship as the allegations of corruption and scandal continue to spew from the health/charity sector.
The senator’s statement:
It is a matter of record that I have long been troubled on many fronts by the way in which the boards of my hospital in particular and of other hospitals do their business.
I would like to personally disassociate myself and any research organisations that I have the privilege of running from any connection with St. Vincent’s hospital group or the St. Vincent’s hospital foundation.
It will become apparent that the board of St. Vincent’s hospital does not enjoy my confidence.
This began in 2002 when I discovered that members of the staff of the hospital had been deliberately and fraudulently charging private health insurers in respect of cancer drugs which had been provided to that institution for free.
I notified the relevant authorities, the Irish Medicines Board at the time, an investigation began and inexplicably stopped and was reformatted several days later.
Documents have recently come into my possession which I’m quite happy to discuss and share with the minister for Health because they refer to money that was fraudulently taken from the VHI of which he is the sole shareholder and of other private insurers.
Documents that show conclusively that there is a cover up conducted by the management and board of St. Vincent’s hospital in respect of this.
Substantial intimidation was brought to bear at the time the whistle was blown on this ten years ago but I believe in light of these new documents coming my way and in light of the increased scrutiny of the Public Affairs Committee it is now time for this matter to be further investigated.
And I’m asking the leader to bring this to the attention of the minister.