Diego Maradona’s doctor investigated by Argentinian police after football legend’s death


Argentinian police have searched the home and office of one of Diego Maradona’s doctors, taking away medical records as part of investigations into the 60-year-old’s death.

Neurologist Leopoldo Luque told reporters he had given investigators all the records of his treatment of Maradona, as well as computers, hard drives and mobile phones.

Weeping at times, he defended his treatment of the troubled former footballer, who died of a heart attack last week following a brain operation earlier in the month.

“I know what I did. I know how I did it…. I am absolutely sure that I did the best for Diego, the best I could,” Dr Luque said.

The search order was requested by prosecutors in the affluent Buenos Aires suburb of San Isidro and signed by a local judge, according to a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office.

“By virtue of the evidence that was collected, it was considered necessary to request searches at the home and office of Dr Leopoldo Luque,” the prosecutor’s office said in the statement.

The prosecutor’s office provided no information on what prompted the investigation.

Mourners visit Diego Maradona’s coffin in Buenos Aires.(AP Photo: Rodrigo Abd)

Dr Luque said he was not Maradona’s chief physician, but part of a medical team.

Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona’s relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor’s office, which is overseeing the probe into the medical attention Maradona received before he died.

Maradona had suffered a series of medical problems, some due to his excessive use of drugs and alcohol. He was reportedly near death in 2000 and 2004.

Dr Luque said he was a difficult patient and had kicked the doctor out of his house several times.

“Diego did what he wanted,” Dr Luque said.

Tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to file past Maradona’s coffin before his burial in Buenos Aires last week.

Some of them clashed with police, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas as they tried to maintain order.

Wires



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Maradona’s doctor investigated for involuntary manslaughter


BUENOS AIRES: Diego Maradona’s personal doctor was on Sunday (Nov 30) being investigated for involuntary manslaughter four days after the Argentina legend suffered a fatal heart attack, prosecutors in San Isidro near Buenos Aires reported.

Police raided Leopoldo Luque’s surgery and home in search of possible evidence pointing to negligence, according to television images.

READ: Argentine prosecutors investigate death of soccer star Maradona

READ: Maradona’s death may trigger family inheritance battle

The probe was triggered by concerns raised by three of Maradona’s daughters Dalma, Gianinna and Jana over the treatment he received for his heart condition at his home in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, judicial sources said.

“Our investigations are ongoing, we are talking to witnesses including members of the family” of Maradona, a source close to the San Isidro inquiry said.

Luque, who declined to comment when contacted by AFP, had posted a photograph of himself with Maradona on the day the 60-year-old left hospital on Nov 12, eight days after surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

Maradona returned home to Tigre where he received round-the-clock medical care and could remain close to his daughters.

He died of a heart attack on Wednesday, and was buried on Thursday at the Jardin de Paz cemetery on the outskirts of the Argentine capital.

READ: Argentine league restarts with tributes to Diego Maradona

READ: Sport pays tribute to Maradona with tears, applause, silence, banners and song

“The clinic had recommended that he go elsewhere to be hospitalised, but the family decided otherwise. His daughters signed for him to be discharged from the hospital,” said a family member, on the condition of anonymity.

Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the football star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death.

No complaint has yet been filed. “The case was initiated because he is a person who died at home and no one signed his death certificate. It does not mean there are suspicions or irregularities,” a judicial source said, requesting to remain anonymous.

A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung edema and chronic heart failure.”

The prosecutor’s office is awaiting the results of toxicological tests on Maradona’s body. The three prosecutors working on the case have requested his medical records, as well as recordings from neighborhood security cameras.

Three funeral home workers provoked outrage for posing for photos next to Maradona’s open coffin, smiling with their thumbs up, as it lay at the presidential palace ahead of his burial. One of the men has since apologised.

Maradona’s last public appearance came four weeks ago for his 60th birthday celebration at the stadium of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, the club he was coaching before his death.



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Ex-PM Abe’s Office Investigated Over Cherry Blossom Party Scandal – The Diplomat


Tokyo Report | Politics | East Asia

A scandal from 2018 continues to dog the former Japanese prime minister.

Credit: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged Tuesday his office is being investigated for questionable expenses linked to a dinner party his office hosted for his supporters ahead of an annual cherry blossom viewing party — a scandal that has been on the backburner for months.

Abe made the comment in response to reports Monday that the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors’ Office has been interviewing his aides over the scandal. None of his aides or supporters have been arrested so far.

Abe, who was in power for nearly eight years as Japan’s longest-serving leader, stepped down in mid-September, citing ill health, but some critics have said the scandal might have been a reason. His successor as prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, who served as chief Cabinet secretary in Abe’s government, scrapped the cherry blossom viewing party the day he took office.

The scandal involves a 2018 annual dinner party for which Abe’s guests paid a 5,000 yen ($48) fee. Opposition lawmakers have said that the fee was too low for a party at an upscale Tokyo hotel, and that Abe’s office allegedly covered the difference without reporting it properly.

“My office is fully cooperating with the investigation launched in response to a criminal complaint,” Abe told reporters Tuesday. He declined to give details of the investigation and said he had already provided an explanation during parliamentary sessions earlier this year when questioned by opposition lawmakers.

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The investigation comes in response to criminal complaints filed earlier this year by a group of hundreds of lawyers and scholars asking Tokyo prosecutors to investigate whether Abe and executives from his political support group had subsidized party fees for Abe’s supporters in 2018 in alleged violation of campaign and election funds laws.

Japanese law prohibits politicians from giving gifts to constituents.

Abe has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

By Mari Yamaguchi for the Associated Press in Tokyo, Japan.



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Mallacoota College investigated after ‘totally unacceptable’ sex doll incident on muck-up day


Victorian education officials are investigating after primary school children saw teachers and older students with an inflatable sex doll during a regional school’s muck-up day celebrations.

The Department of Education and Training has appointed an external law firm to investigate the end-of-year celebrations for year 12 students at Mallacoota College, about 600 kilometres east of Melbourne.

The town became known for the apocalyptic fire images during last summer’s bushfire season, which were broadcast across the world. Many town residents are still struggling to recover.

At the school’s muck-up day on November 6, it is alleged a student brought the female sex doll to the school.

The school has primary and secondary students aged from five to 18 years.

Teachers participated in activities with doll

The ABC understands several teachers, including the principal, were seen by many primary school students as young as five, with the doll during the school’s 55-minute lunch break.

Sources said the blow-up female doll had visible genitals and was tied to a pole during lunch break and had water and ice thrown on it.

The sources said students and at least one teacher rode on top of the sex doll down a children’s slide, and a female name was given to the doll.

A picture of school principal Tim Cashmore close to the doll, and with young primary school children nearby, was posted on social media but was later taken down.

A parent who did not want to be named told the ABC their young child had described the naked female doll to them in detail, saying the doll had “a lot of holes and lipstick”.

The parent said they were, “aghast and disgusted by the use of the sex doll in front of young children”.

Another parent said their primary school child told a teacher on the day that they needed to put clothes on the doll before the prep students saw it.

Mallacoota P12 College principal Tim Cashmore.(ABC Gippsland: Sarah Maunder)

Department launches investigation

Students’ parents were alerted to the muck-up day’s activities five days later when a letter, signed by both Mr Cashmore and the school council president Dani Morris, was sent out.

It is understood the department received at least 15 complaints from unhappy parents demanding answers.

On Monday, staff were told by senior departmental staff an inquiry was being held into the matter by a law firm and that Mr Cashmore was taking leave.

External acting principal David Mowbray has been appointed to take over, which the department says, “has the backing of the school’s leadership team and assistant principal”.

‘What the hell is going on at the school?’

School council member and parent Cate Tregellas said despite the letter to parents being co-signed by the council president, she knew nothing about it.

“I got a lot of texts, emails and phone calls from parents saying, ‘What the hell is going on at the school?'” she said.

“And I said, ‘Well, actually we don’t know.'”

The letter, seen by the ABC, stated that an “unknown student brought an inappropriate item to school” and this was “totally unacceptable”.

“We have spoken to the whole year 12 about this incident to ensure they understand why it is wrong,” the letter said.

Ms Tregellas said teachers and students told her they were appalled at the behaviour of the teachers who failed to stop students handling the doll and participated in the activities.

“Many of the students felt revolted and just didn’t know where to look,” she said.

Female students ‘demeaned’ by incident

Ms Tregellas says she does not blame the year 12 students, who are in the middle of final exams, and have been through a tough year after the bushfires destroyed more than 100 houses in the small town.

But she wants to know the teachers’ role in the incident.

“It wasn’t fun at all, especially for a lot of our female students.

“They just felt very demeaned by it.”

She wants more transparency around the department’s investigation and for the results to be publicly released.

Mr Cashmore declined to comment, but confirmed he was on leave.

A department spokesman confirmed it was making inquiries into the “circumstances around these events and the actions taken on the day”.

The spokesperson said the school taught Respectful Relationships sessions, a program teaching respect and equality and that it was supporting students to “ensure this incident does not distract from the hard work still to be done”.

It also said it was reaching out to students to make sure they had the support they needed.



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Alleged paedophile nurse James Geoffrey Griffin continued working as police investigated


A Launceston nurse accused of child sex abuse continued working at a Tasmanian hospital for months while police investigated the claims.

In announcing the release of the terms of reference for the inquiry launched in the wake of the revelations, Tasmanian Health Minister Sarah Courtney acknowledged “the Tasmanian community would be appalled by some of the allegations that have been aired” about James Geoffrey Griffin.

“I know personally, I found them very distressing,” she said.

Mr Griffin, 69, worked as a registered nurse on the Spirit of Tasmania, at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre and at the Paediatric Centre at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH).

In his record of investigation, Tasmanian coroner Simon Cooper detailed events in the lead up to Mr Griffin’s death by suicide in 2019.

Mr Cooper wrote in May that year, a woman made a complaint to Tasmania Police of historical sexual abuse by Mr Griffin that allegedly occurred when she was 11 and he was 58.

At a subsequent police interview, Mr Griffin “made admissions that he had met the child through a local sporting group where he acted as a masseuse,” Mr Cooper said.

While the reports of child sex abuse were investigated, Mr Griffin was able to continue his work at the Launceston General Hospital for three months until the the end of July when his Working with Vulnerable Persons accreditation was suspended.

The ANMF’s Emily Shepherd says the outcome of the investigation must be that “this situation can never occur again”.(ABC News: Craig Heerey)

Mr Cooper wrote that in September Mr Griffin was charged with a number of criminal offences involving repeated sexual abuse of a child.

“By October 2019, four other females had come forward and made similar historic complaints of sexual abuse ranging from the late 1980s through to 2012,” Mr Cooper noted.

“Police searched Mr Griffin’s home and located a significant amount of child exploitation material … as well as self-generated images of a young female [acquaintance].

“Additional evidence was located of internet chat sites where Mr Griffin spoke to others and bragged of using anti-histamines to sedate the female [acquaintance] and some of her friends when they slept over, in order to sexually abuse them,” the coroner said.

Mr Griffin was arrested again on October 3, 2019 and charged with additional sexual crimes.

Mr Griffin’s electronic devices were seized by police and subsequent forensic analysis showed they contained indecent images of a work colleague’s child, as well as indecent images of children apparently taken in his role as a paediatric nurse.

The coroner noted Mr Griffin’s son called in to check on his father on 14 October, finding him “unresponsive”.

He was taken by ambulance to his former place of work, Launceston General Hospital, where he did not regain consciousness and died on October 18.

‘Like it had never happened’

Keelie McMahon smiles at the camera.
Keelie McMahon, pictured around the time of the alleged sexual abuse by James Geoffrey Griffin.(Supplied)

Keelie McMahon was one of five women who came forward with allegations of abuse by Mr Griffin.

She said Mr Griffin worked with her mother at the LGH and the two families became friends.

“Everybody just though he was so nice and just this great guy, really supportive and helpful of everyone and I think that’s how he managed to groom so many people,” she said.

Ms McMahon, now 23, claimed she was 14-years-old when she was first abused by Mr Griffin.

She said they were having a movie night when he allegedly touched her inappropriately.

“There was a heap of us in the same room and we all started going to sleep after watching some movies and he just got a bit too close,” she said.

“I kind of froze, I suppose that’s just a coping mechanism. Once I pulled myself together, I moved away from where he was and it stopped.

“Then the next day, it was like it had never happened, he just acted as if he’d never done it and just went about his day like nothing had happened.”

Ms McMahon alleges Mr Griffin sexually abused her again, around six months later while they were on a family camping trip on the east coast of the state.

Ms McMahon said she was upset when she heard of Mr Griffin’s death because she had known him for so long.

“But I was also angry,” she said.

‘The hospital won’t be able to cover anything up’

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch Secretary Emily Shepherd said the ANMF would make its own submission to the investigation.

“The ANMF Tasmanian Branch has a zero tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct, particularly in relation to those who are most vulnerable, including children and young people.”

“We must ensure that the outcome of this investigation is that this situation can never occur again,” Ms Shepherd said.

“The ANMF subsequently discovered that complaints had been made to the Tasmanian Health Service and thereafter the Tasmanian Integrity Commission.”

While Ms McMahon is pleased the investigation is going forward, she said it “should have started as soon as it all started coming out, not once they’d been named and shamed as such”.

“The hospital won’t be able to cover anything up, they’ll have to put all their cards on the table,” she said.



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We’ve investigated aged care for the past three years. These are the stories that shocked us


It was billed as the “opportunity of a lifetime”.

And as senior counsel assisting said in the final hearings of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission last week, it is “the most in-depth and thorough examination of Australia’s aged care systems that has ever been undertaken”.

The QCs have presented more than 120 recommendations detailing massive reform, including a new Aged Care Act; a star rating system allowing families to compare nursing homes for quality and safety that would also show any reports of abuse and neglect; and new staffing requirements with more nurses and specialist care for dementia and palliative patients.

Of course, none of these recommendations are guaranteed to be taken up by commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs for their final report.

But the reforms include many of the issues the ABC has also investigated over the past two-and-a-half years, from the time we launched our crowdsourced investigation in April 2018 asking families, staff and insiders to share their experiences with us.

The surprise announcement of the aged care royal commission was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison the day before Four Corners aired the first of our two-part series using the collected stories.

Today, we take a look back at some of those disturbing stories and consider what could change if the reforms being proposed go ahead

Neglect: Hidden camera showed what it really looked like

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Luigi Cantali’s daughter hid a camera in his Sydney nursing home

“Neglect” is the title of the royal commission’s interim report released late last year because the inquiry found it was the common factor in the majority of its 10,000 submissions to the inquiry.

It is difficult to see neglect in action, but that’s exactly what happened when one family gave us two weeks of hidden camera footage showing life at Sydney nursing home Carino Care for 80-year-old Luigi Cantali — a blind Italian man with mild dementia.

We watched three days in his life, revealing how he was left in his chair or bed all day wearing soiled incontinence pads and clothes; how he went hungry when his meal was left out of reach and the hours left alone because staff members rarely came to assist him.

The day after our story aired, the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, found the home failed more than half the required standards, saying there were not enough skilled staff and recording that residents had “died in pain and distress”.

A lack of staffing ratios and not enough trained staff are two of the consistent themes running through all the royal commission hearings.

That is because there are no staff-to-resident ratios, no requirement for a registered nurse to be on duty, and no standard minimum training for carers who are unregulated.

But that could all change if counsel assisting’s recommendations are accepted by the commissioners.

Staff-to-resident ratios haven’t been proposed, however, the suggested solution is a mix of more qualified staff including registered nurses, enrolled nurse and personal care workers with proper qualifications working a mandated number of hours.

Old man sits in his chair with dinner train a few metres away.
The hidden camera showed blind man Luigi Cantali’s dinner was left out of reach.(Supplied)

They suggested a registered nurse on duty 24/7 with residents receiving more than three hours direct care per day from a mix of staff, better pay for workers, and more accountability from providers who would have to provide quarterly reports on staffing.

This recommendation along with a system rating nursing homes on the My Aged Care website would allow families to make better decisions when choosing care.

Regarding our story on Luigi — he died six days after the family moved him out of Carino Care.

The Quality and Safety Commission hasn’t done a full audit of Carino Care for over a year because of COVID-19.

In its last full audit in October 2019, the regulator found it posed a “serious risk” to residents, failing over 40 per cent of standards, with subsequent inspections finding it is still non compliant, yet the nursing home remains fully accredited until the end of this year.

Carino Care is owned by parent company Tierra Health, a consultancy firm advising other aged care homes on how to meet quality and safety standards.

Sexual assault: 50 assaults per week

Dorothy Major looks out the window at her aged care home. She sits in a wheelchair.
Dorothy Major was sexually assaulted by a nurse in her room at an aged care facility.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Sexual assault in aged care is more common than anyone wants to believe.

In April last year, we spoke to brave families who detailed shocking attacks like the resident with a history of sexually abusing residents who was caught on CCTV assaulting a woman with dementia.

And the worker who sexually abused an elderly woman but escaped any action because she wasn’t believed.

In the final hearings, the royal commission revealed a never-before-seen government-commissioned report that estimated there are 50 sexual assaults per week — the vast majority perpetrated by other residents with dementia and cognitive disabilities.

Under current regulations, there is no requirement to report or register those attacks by impaired residents.

“This is a national shame,” Mr Rozen told the inquiry.

“As disturbing as these figures are, the evidence of the lack of follow-up by the Australian Government department that receives the reports is, if anything, worse.”

However, the issue of sexual abuse was a glaring omission at the hearings.

No victims or families of victims gave evidence, and the issue was not examined in any detail — something that has angered grassroots aged care advocates and support groups who have been dealing with the fallout for years.

However, the counsel assisting has recommended a new “serious incident reporting scheme” that would require nursing homes and home care providers to report all physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by staff as well as residents — including when the allegations involve a perpetrator with dementia.

And there could be more transparency, with a proposed new regulator required to publish a record of the assaults every quarter, showing which providers and individual nursing homes have had assaults on their properties.

Aged care providers would also have to prove what action they had taken and have those measures approved by the regulator.

Dementia care: The hidden camera tells a troubling story

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Ernie’s family put a secret camera in his room to find out why his pyjamas were regularly torn.(Supplied)

Over half the residents in aged care have dementia — and that’s a conservative estimate.

Yet, personal care workers — who do the crucial work of showering, feeding and mobilising the elderly — don’t require any training in the often complex task of helping people who suffer from cognitive decline.

For one of our investigations, we were given hidden camera video showing how Ernie Poloni, who suffered with dementia, was treated at Bupa Templestowe in Melbourne.

Unable to speak, the 85-year-old couldn’t explain why his pyjamas were ripped and in need of replacing so his family installed a camera in his clock radio and discovered it was due to “rough handling” by carers — a term used to describe rough treatment and incorrect techniques.

The camera showed much more than that — carers who looked after the man every day but didn’t speak to him, didn’t warn him when they were moving him, who watched TV and talked to each other as if he wasn’t there.

This lack of knowledge in dealing with people with dementia is the reason counsel assisting has proposed compulsory training in dementia care (and palliative care) for every single aged care worker; reviewing training courses to ensure appropriate education on dementia training; and a register for personal care workers (who are currently unregulated), which would mean mistreatment could see them struck off rather than allowed to move between nursing homes.

Following our story, lawyers for Bupa viewed all the hidden camera footage and said it “seemed likely” that other residents with dementia were treated in the same way as Mr Poloni and undertook to retrain staff in “person centred care”.

Ultimately, Bupa concluded that the care was adequate “but could have been undertaken in a better fashion” and did not see any need to report staff to the regulator.

The Quality and Safety Commission has not done a full audit at Templestowe since August 2019.

Chemical and physical restraint: Dad ‘never came back 100 per cent’

An old man in two photographs side by side. In one he is sitting up smiling, the other he is slumped over, his head on his knees
Terry Reeves on his first day in the home and seven weeks later.(Supplied)

The overuse of physical and chemical restraints has been described as a human rights abuse with the Australian Law Reform Commission making recommendations to stop it six years ago — reforms that were ignored by Government.

In January 2019, the issue came up again after we broadcast video footage of Terry Reeves, a man with dementia who was regularly tied to his chair with a lap belt — sometimes for a total of 14 hours a day — and heavily sedated with the anti-psychotic Risperidone.

His daughter Michelle McCulla gave evidence at the royal commission of other residents with dementia who were kept in a small room, strapped to their chairs like her father.

At the time, Garden View nursing home had a 100 per cent score from the regulator, the Quality and Safety Commission, but when it visited after our story, the nursing home failed over 75 per cent of standards.

The story was so shocking, then-aged care minister Ken Wyatt announced the Government would introduce new regulations on restraint.

The royal commission has already found elderly people are subjected to “unjustified clinical and physical restraints”.

In its final hearings last week, counsel assisting recommended new, stricter regulations and proposes that GPs no longer prescribe powerful antipsychotics unless a geriatrician or psychiatrist has consulted the resident and approved a prescription.

That’s likely because evidence shows GPs are often pressured by staff to prescribe such medication due to low staffing levels and a lack of dementia training.

Counsel assisting says civil suits could be laid against providers who breach these rules, which has angered advocates who say criminal charges should be laid instead due to the obstacles and cost of taking civil legal action against big providers.

As for our story on Mr Reeves — he died in August with his family saying: “He never came back 100 per cent.”

The Quality and Safety Commission found Garden View nursing home met all standards in October last year but has not conducted a full audit since then, with the home accredited until May next year due to the “exceptional circumstances” of COVID-19.

Home care: Endless waiting lists and high fees

Portrait of an elderly lady clutching her teddy.
Evelyn Micallef’s daughter and son-in-law care for her at home.(ABC News)

The home care waiting list has more than 100,000 people on it, with people waiting a year or more.

With COVID-19 causing indefinite restrictions on visits to nursing homes, home care is the preference for many elderly Australians and their families.

For that reason, counsel assisting proposes clearing the waiting list by the end of next year — a reform that will cost many billions of dollars.

And they suggest the disparity in funding of home care and residential care should end, with those staying at home given the same maximum amount of funding as if they were in a nursing home, which equates to about $60,000 a year.

However, counsel assisting shied away from the thorny issue of uncapped administration fees charged by home care providers, something we investigated last month.

Our story showed that the elderly had a large proportion of their home care subsidy taken in fees by home care providers.

Instead, counsel assisting is proposing standardised statements showing the monthly amount of money paid out and including fees and charges with consultants to assist in guiding aged Australians.

The final report to come in February

Many of the proposed reforms hinge on a new Aged Care Act to replace the one created by John Howard’s government in 1997, which opened aged care up to private enterprise and led to less staff, a deskilled workforce and a regulator that has been more about cutting red tape than investigating mistreatment and protecting the elderly.

Crucially, counsel assisting wants a new independent commission as the regulator, removed from any Federal Government influence.

It’s this reform that led to the highly unusual and public disagreement between the two commissioners last week, with Lynelle Briggs, a former Public Services Commissioner, labelling the proposal “extraordinary” and arguing in favour of maintaining the current regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, despite overwhelming evidence of its failures especially during the COVID outbreaks.

She says the commission could be bolstered to become the “tough cop on the beat” and a “one stop shop” — phrases used by Health Minister Greg Hunt when he announced the establishment of the Quality and Safety Commissioner in 2018.

Commissioner Tony Pagone, a former Federal Court judge, directly opposed her, lending support to the new proposal.

With no tie breaker on this one, we now have to wait until the final report in February next year to see which of the commissioners wins out and whether the aged care system really will be rebuilt again from the ground up.



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Rabbitohs club doctor Andrew McDonald conduct investigated by NSW medical watchdog


“We have a formal complaint and have commenced inquiries to gather details of the specific allegations and all associated evidence,” a spokeswoman for the Health Care Complaints Commission said. “This will enable us to determine what is alleged to have occurred and what further action is required.”

The complaint was launched by the watchdog Commissioner Sue Dawson herself after conducting initial inquires into the allegations.

“The Commission has an active “own motion” complaint which allows the Commission to examine all of the allegations raised and the role and actions of any health service providers who may be involved,” the spokeswoman said.

This motion sees Ms Dawson become the complainant herself and allows the HCCC to commence a full assessment of the allegations.

The HCCC now have a 60-day window to assess the complaint before making a determination on what further action will be taken.

If the HCCC decide to proceed with the investigation, the estimated timeframe is one to two years before a determination is made.

The Medical Board of NSW will make a call on whether Dr McDonald will be suspended or will need to practise under supervision while the HCCC investigation is underway.

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On Tuesday, the medical watchdog said they had commenced “initial” inquiries but had not yet received an official complaint.

With a formal complaint now lodged, the NRL said they will now work in with the HCCC as well as the NSW Police.

The NRL also said the complaint did not change their current stance on Dr McDonald and he would still be allowed to work for the club.

Dr McDonald declined to comment when contacted by the Herald on Thursday.

The Rabbitohs said Dr McDonald would still remain as an independent contractor to the club in his role as Chief Medical Officer, despite the complaint.

The HCCC will also investigate the role of a GP who was left unnamed in the Australian‘s report.

In Phoebe Burgess’ statement to police, as reported by the Australian, she alleged she drove her then-husband to an underground carpark in Sydney’s southeast on November 7 in 2018 to have private urine and blood tests taken.

She alleged she was told the GP who took Sam’s blood and urine samples would file the pathology results under the alias Ben Smith.

NSW Police and the NRL integrity unit have launched separate investigations into the allegations.

Burgess has stood down from his role as a coaching assistant with the Rabbitohs while the investigations are ongoing.

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Madeleine McCann suspect investigated over rape of Irish woman in 2004


The main suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann is the subject of a new criminal inquiry, it has emerged.

“Christian B’ is now being investigated over the rape of a young Irish woman in 2004 in the Algarve region of Portugal, say prosecutors.

The alleged incident happened three years before the disappearance of McCann, according to German authorities.

McCann, then three, went missing from an apartment her family was staying in at the Praia da Luz resort on 3 May 2007.

In June 2020, British and German police identified Christian B – currently in jail in Germany for an unrelated offence – as the prime suspect in the case.

The Irish woman had reported the alleged attack in 2004 but it was only when she recognised the photograph of Christian B in the media earlier this year – in connection with the McCann case – that she contacted authorities again.

“I can confirm to you that we are also investigating the suspicion of rape of a young Irish woman in 2004 in the Algarve (the region where Madeleine McCann disappeared)”, German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told AFP.



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Melbourne Demons’ Harley Bennell investigated for possible COVID-19 protocol breach


Melbourne have been fined $50,000 and midfielder Harley Bennell suspended for four matches and sent home from the Demons’ Queensland hub after an AFL investigation concluded that he had breached its coronavirus rules.

A source familiar with the situation said Bennell had left the Demons’ Sunshine Coast headquarters on Saturday night to visit a friend. The former Dockers and Suns midfielder cooperated with the investigation. While the Demons last night dropped out of the final eight courtesy of the Western Bulldogs’ win over Fremantle, the penalty means he cannot remain in Queensland with his family.

Harley Bennell.Credit:Getty Images

Sources said police were not involved in the matter. The penalty for a first offence is a $50,000 fine to the club. This is the Demons’ first potential breach since Kysaiah Pickett and Charlie Spargo ran foul of AFL protocols early in the season, before the hubs were established and a new fines system introduced.

Bennell was not part of the Dees’ squad for Saturday’s match against Essendon on the Gold Coast, and as a precautionary measure has not returned to their hub.



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Port Adelaide Power players Peter Ladhams and Dan Houston investigated over potential breach of COVID-19 protocols


Port Adelaide players Peter Ladhams and Dan Houston are being investigated by the AFL over a potential breach of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Sources close to the situation confirmed an investigation related to an event on the night of Monday, August 3 in which Ladhams invited several guests over to his house following Port’s win over the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval.

Peter Ladhams is being investigated by the AFL.

Peter Ladhams is being investigated by the AFL.Credit:Getty Images

Sanctions are expected to be handed out on Thursday, with the pair almost certainly set for suspensions given the precedent set by the league so far this year.

Ladhams and Houston may be more harshly dealt with than previous offenders as players have known of the league’s coronavirus protocols for months and undergone extensive education.



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