Toni wants a slice of quiet
FOR seven years Bundaberg nurse Toni Hoffman has been swept along with the current, unable to get out as she endured the consequences of blowing the whistle on disgraced surgeon Jayant Patel.
The Bundaberg Hospital intensive care nurse unit manager is now planning to return to the quiet life after receiving a compensation payout from Queensland Health late Thursday.
The settlement figure was undisclosed, but the News Mail reported in December 2011 that Ms Hoffman had launched a compensation claim worth up to $400,000.
"I'm just looking forward to getting home to my animals and probably having a coffee with friends over the weekend," Ms Hoffman said from the Sunshine Coast on Friday.
The senior nurse said she would probably take a holiday soon, but was proud to continue to work at the hospital's intensive care unit.
"The doctors and nurses there are all part of a tight-knit team," she said.
Ms Hoffman said it was not just her colleagues behind her desire to continue working at the hospital.
"It's the fact that you can make a difference every day," she said.
But little was done to help her through the tough time after she had made Patel's mistakes public.
"It's been like being on a rollercoaster," she said.
"First it was trying to get someone to listen, then the commission, then the charges and extradition, then the committal before finally the trial."
Ms Hoffman said she hoped Queensland Health and other government departments learnt from how she had been treated.
"If someone decides to be a whistleblower, it's not something they take lightly," she said.
"They need a lot of support to see them through the process to the end."
Ms Hoffman said she still felt let down after having to use all of her annual leave to watch Patel's trial after she had given evidence.
But she said the compensation she received was vindication.
"I think that it recognises that I was disadvantaged by having to be a whistleblower," she said.
Wide Bay Health Service District director of nursing and midwifery services Debbie Carroll said staff at the hospital were pleased Ms Hoffman could have some closure after the settlement.
"Toni Hoffman is a highly valued member of the clinical team here at Bundaberg Hospital," she said.
"We will work closely with Toni to ensure she has the continued support she needs."