Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital – Report Released

Wednesday 10 Nov 2021

The HSUWA welcomes the release of the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital after the tragic death of Aishwarya Aswath this year.

Importantly the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) has accepted and will move to implement the 30 recommendations from the Report. The link to the Report is here. The HSUWA will focus on consultation with the Health Minister and CAHS Executive and monitoring implementation.

The key findings of the report support HSUWA members’ advocacy. Listening and responding to the concerns of workers about safety and risk is critical and when impeded, the Report recognises that problems escalate.

The Report states it is “unclear” what the “most relevant and appropriate pathways” are for staff “wishing to raise and/or escalate concerns about clinical risks and to support consideration of these risks at an organisational level”.

CAHS has said in response that, “staff must be able to escalate and be heard in their call for resources to ensure patient safety.

In simple terms there has been insufficient investment in staff numbers, training and supervision across the organisation, with the ED triage and waiting areas understaffed. The Report reflects what our members have been voicing and campaigning for:

“A major increase in ED presentations and other service demands, in late 2020, due to unseasonal respiratory illnesses and increases in adolescent mental health patients, was not able to be met with an organisational response of sufficient urgency.”

Importantly, there was recognition of the serious and damaging breaches in staff trust of senior management by the handling and leaking of the RCA report and the referral of staff to AHPRA.

In addition, the Report has laid bare the need for additional attraction and retention strategies, with 6 of the 30 recommendations directly related to staffing and retention.  The need for jobs to be permanent – minimising the use of casual and agency staff – was also evident. It is heartening to finally see this commitment and the HSUWA is very keen to see this achieved with clear targets.

We will keep HSUWA members updated regarding the implementation of the recommendations from the Report which the State Government needs to properly fund and CAHS needs to actively pursue.  If you would like to contribute to the consultative process, you can do that by emailing union@hsuwa.com.au

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