A supplementary question put forward to the Hon. G.E. GAGO regarding the E. Coli Outbreak.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have a supplementary question. How does the minister reconcile her response to that question with the Minister for Health’s response to questioning by the member for Bragg yesterday that the minister’s office was alerted late on the 23rd and issued a warning on the 24th?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO: The member would have to ask the Minister for Health to answer that question. I have answered the question in terms of the advice and details I have, and I have presented that information to the chamber, as requested. Any questions for the Minister for Health need to be asked of the Minister for Health.
(Thursday 8 February 2007)
E. Coli Outbreak
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the former acting health minister a question about the subject of the E. coli outbreak.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yesterday, in the House of Assembly the Minister for Health stated, in response to a question, that the department of health was concerned about a possible outbreak and alerted the minister’s office late on 23 January. In this chamber yesterday it was reported that a statement was issued by the public health director, Mr Kevin Bucket, on Thursday 25 January. My question to the minister is: why did it take two days for the government to alert the general public about the E. coli outbreak, and what does it say about this government’s priorities when it puts out a whimpy release late on the Thursday before a long weekend but can afford to put out a two-page advertisement about the River Murray?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Environment and Conservation): Again, any questions about the information that the Minister for Health has provided needs to be directed to him. However, I understand that the Hon. John Hill made a ministerial statement this afternoon, part of which states:
In relation to the dates of notification I need to clarify the information I provided yesterday. On advice I am now advised that the department received results linking three cases of E. coli 0157 on 23 January. A HUS case was notified on 24 January, and my office was notified on 24 January. A public health alert was issued by the department on Thursday 25 January.
That is a media ministerial statement made by the Hon. John Hill this afternoon.