NSW health workers told not to give evidence at inquiry

A SENATE inquiry into the state of the health sector around Australia has been told the NSW Government ordered top health workers not to give evidence in the investigation.

Dr Steve Flecknoe-Brown showed the Senate Select Committee on Health an email, from the office of the Far West Local Health District's chief executive officer, directing senior staff not to appear at any of the hearings.

Committee chairwoman, Labor Senator Deborah O'Neill, has called for the Baird government to explain the need for secrecy.

"This edict is tantamount to an official gag," she said.

"Which begs the question: what is the NSW Health Department so eager to hide from the senate inquiry that it gets a senior administrator to send out such an order?

"Are there impacts on rural health as a result of the Abbott government's savage cuts to health and hospitals that the NSW and Federal governments don't want the committee to know about?"

It is not yet clear if any other NSW health districts issued similar warnings to staff.