MP bails up Base workers
MEMBER for Burnett Rob Messenger has been accused of taking his quest for re-election "into the gutter" after bailing up Bundaberg Base Hospital staff with a TV crew in tow.
The NewsMail received reports that the MP visited the hospital on Thursday afternoon and left staff shaken after he and a news team from A Current Affair made an unannounced visit to the hospital.
But Mr Messenger insists he was polite and courteous to staff at all times.
A Bundaberg Hospital spokesman said Mr Messenger and the television crew entered the hospital and started "making on-camera demands" of staff, "some of them very junior".
The spokesman said the hospital had organised support services and counselling after receiving several complaints from staff upset by the incident.
"When going about their normal duties, our doctors, nurses and reception staff deserve better than to be used for publicity stunts," he said.
"The visit caused several staff to be upset and visibly shaken."
The spokesman said Mr Messenger had not sought permission to be onsite in his role as MP, as per a long-standing Queensland Health protocol.
But Mr Messenger denied the reports he raised his voice or was rude.
"I went up to the counter and said could I speak to (Bundaberg Hospital operational executive) Luke Worth," he said.
Mr Messenger said he waited for about 10 minutes before Mr Worth, accompanied by security, came to reception and asked the television crew to leave.
Mr Worth then took the MP and some of his constituents into the executive suite of the hospital for a meeting.
Together union secretary Alex Scott said Mr Messenger's campaign activities had "got down into the gutter".
"We understand that there shall always be ... patients with health treatment concerns," he said.
"But it's time for political candidates to focus their campaign activities on policies for the future, not laying siege to public service workplaces.
"Patients don't really wish to see waiting rooms reduced to three-ring campaign circuses in the lead-up to the state ballot."