Former truckie-turned Senator Glenn Sterle has joined the fight for the rights of Brendon Baker, 42, who was refused treatment at Northern Epping Hospital last week.
As we reported yesterday, Baker was all prepped and ready to be wheeled in to theatre for a colonoscopy when a nurse raised an alarm over his occupation and fearful he was a Covid-risk, sent him packing.
Incensed by the treatment Baker received, Sterle, who is also the Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety, has today written to Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley demanding answers and calling for the truckie to be brought to the front of the queue.
Below is the letter in full.
Dear Minister Foley,
I write in relation to the treatment of interstate truck driver Brendon Baker at Northern Epping Hospital last week. Like many, I was shocked to read in Big Rigs News that despite being booked in for an important medical procedure, Mr Baker was told to leave the hospital minutes before it was due to commence because staff found out that he was a truck driver.
Mr Baker had been on an 18-month waiting list for a colonoscopy. He had taken a week off work to prepare for the surgery and paid for the required preparatory powders. Mr Baker was all ready to go, lying on a hospital bed waiting to be wheeled into surgery when a nurse raised an alarm because she was fearful that the recent test Mr Baker had self-administered in NSW as a truck driver was not conclusive enough. How had this not been picked up earlier?
Mr Baker was then tested again, had to remain in bed for a further five hours and was forced to wear a mask that labelled him as contagious. He was also forced to use a bed-pan because if he used the toilets, they would have to be professionally cleaned. After this humiliating treatment, Mr Baker was released and told to head home to Yarck (90minutes away) without any idea on when he might be able to reschedule his procedure.
Minister, Mr Baker is back at work now preparing for another run to Sydney and Brisbane and as a result of not having the procedure last week, has almost no control of his bowel movements. What further strains is this going to put on Mr Baker’s health while he is out there on the road conducting an essential service? Minister, can I respectfully ask that Mr Baker’s case be brought to the front of the queue so he is able to have this procedure and that you launch a review into what happened at Northern Epping last week so that situations like this don’t happen again. Our truck drivers are essential workers and they deserve much better than this.
CHAIR – SENATE RURAL REGIONAL AFFAIRS & TRANSPORT REFERENCES COMMITTEE SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR ROAD SAFETY
LABOR SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
- As of earlier today, Baker tells us he is still waiting to hear back about a new appointment, and Big Rigs is also yet to hear any answers to the questions we sent the hospital regarding its policies around treating truck drivers.