Justine Anderson, of Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, said it was “surprising and obviously disappointing to see that there were systemic filings over such a long period”.
“The referral of the report to NSW Police for consideration was also unexpected,” she continued.
Headed up by Gail Furness SC, the independent inquiry into Dr Gayed found that the health system failed women at the NSW Mid-North Coast Manning Base Public Hospital.
The final report made three recommendations that “focus on reforms to ensure that medical advice and treatment given to patients is being performed at an appropriate standard in regional, rural and remote areas where there are limited numbers of specialists”, Ms Anderson outlined.
With emphasis placed on Manning Base Hospital in the report, Gail Furness SC said there hve been 50 women whose treatment warrants a complaint to the HCCC and many more who had complained directly to the HCCC.
“Most of these 50 women I have referred to the HCCC – that is, 30 in number – were treated between 2011 and 2015,” she explained.
“The health system failed each of these women.”
For Ms Anderson’s clients, the media interest generated by the report means a lot, and she expects more women to come forward as a result of the spotlight.
Her clients have been pleased to see the report published, she said, as “it has taken immense courage for these women to speak out about very personal issues and they were pleased that an inquiry was instigated and they were happy to receive the report in full on 7 February 2019”.
“For the first time, women now have a clear and independent account of what has taken place,” she said.
“This is a significant step for the women affected by the advice from and treatment by Dr Gayed,” she explained.
“Whilst these recommendations do not correct the errors of the past, our clients do not want history to repeat itself.”
“I would like to thank all the women who had the courage to come forward about this issue and I would also like to acknowledge the vast amount of work that Ms Gail Furness and her team performed in the preparation of this report – it was greatly received,” Ms Anderson concluded.
Lawyers Weekly last reported on this matter prior to the report’s release, with Ms Anderson having urged the NSW state government to release the findings from the inquiry.