Wed July 11, 2012 8:17am
NINE health workers who collectively ripped off almost $83,000 from Queensland Health during its payroll debacle have been found guilty of fraud but the department may be forced to compensate others wrongly accused.
Any compensation payments would add to the already mammoth cost to fix the Health payroll, tipped to top $1.25 billion by 2017.
About 200 staff were referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission amid suspicions they wrongly claimed emergency cash payments meant for staff left without pay or severely short-changed in the months after the system's botched 2010 introduction.
The former Bligh government's approach to the alleged fraud cases sparked outrage last year, with staff who insisted they had mistakenly claimed too much furious they were subjected to the "humiliation" of detectives knocking at their doors, without any prior contact from Queensland Health.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said a "very small number" of workers may therefore be eligible for compensation.
Eighty-eight workers who allegedly misappropriated $460,000 were referred to police. Of the nine found guilty in court, three were fired, three resigned and the department's ethical standards unit is still deciding on penalties for the other three.
Queensland Health will move health workers' pay date forward 10 days in October, ending a clash with the close of rosters that meant about 10,000 forms detailing last-minute shift changes often could not be logged in time.
The state's 84,000 health workers will be given a loan to help manage financial obligations, which will then be deducted when they leave.