News

Springborg told of patient care and safety concerns in 2013

 Rockhampton Hospital.
Rockhampton Hospital.

4.30pm: Queensland's Health Minister has told parliament today there were concerns about patient safety at Rockhampton Hospital mid to late last year.

Lawrence Springborg, in answering a question from Shadow Health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller about the situation at Rockhampton Hospital of botched surgeries, said the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board chairman Charles Ware had raised concerns with him last year.

"Indeed, at about the end of the third quarter of last year I had some discussions with the hospital board chair and he indicated to me that he had some concerns about what had been a long-term cultural attitude at that hospital with regards to issues of clinical safety and patient care," Mr Springborg said.

"They were going to do some work to make sure that that actually changed. I commend the board for doing that.

"Obviously they brought in Vanguard Health to review the way that they were implementing the recommendations of the root cause analysis and other such findings.

"That is now well and truly underway and we have three separate investigations."

Ms Miller and Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne held a press conference about the scandal. Listen to it here: 

11.30am: QUEENSLAND Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has announced three separate investigations will be conducted into the botched surgery practices of a doctor at Rockhampton Hospital.

It was revealed last week an overseas doctor at the hospital had been stood down after performing incorrect surgery on a patient earlier this year.

The surgeon was required to remove the patient's left kidney instead he removed the right one.

It was further revealed today the doctor at the centre of the scandal is now the focus of further investigations after four more botched surgeries stretching back to 2011 came to light.

Mr Springborg told State Parliament this morning the surgeon was a specialist who received training in Australia and had worked in both the public health system and in private practice.

"The Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Board is confronting issues that arise from an unacceptable and worrying case of failed renal surgery early this year," he said.

"A surgeon, required to remove a diseased kidney from the left side of a patient, removed the right kidney instead.

"Systems to protect patients from botched surgery are fundamental to clinical practice.

Mr Springborg said two senior administrators from the hospital had been stood down as the fallout from the saga continues.

"The Central Queensland Board has terminated the appointment of the Acting Executive Director of Medical Services and suspended the appointment of the Director of Surgery at Rockhampton Hospital," he said.

"This comes on top of its decision late last week to stand aside a surgeon involved in the incident."

Mr Springborg said a second patient of the surgeon in question was transported to a Brisbane hospital last week.

"A second patient of this surgeon was transported to Brisbane late last week," he said.

"The patient is in a stable condition with some post-surgery complications and was transported to provide access to an urologist should specialist treatment be required."

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a "tragedy" and her thoughts were with the patients and their families.

The incidents have reported to the Crime and Misconduct Commission as well as to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

11.10am: A SENIOR medical administrator and Rockhampton Hospital's head surgeon has been terminated following an investigation in to another doctor's surgeries.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board Chair Charles Ware announced the termination today.

Mr Ware said the action was a direct result from last week's announcement that a surgeon had performed wrong-site renal surgery on a patient earlier this year.

He said Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) had organised for a second patient of this surgeon to be transported to Brisbane late last week after he suffered post-surgery complications.

That patient is in a stable condition but was transported to ensure he had access to the appropriate specialist treatment.

Both patients are Rockhampton region locals.

There are two other patients of the foreign-trained surgeon identified with incorrect procedures or post-surgery complications.

"The CQHH Board bears the ultimate responsibility for patient safety and will not tolerate any shortfall in our safety systems," Mr Ware said.

"Following its meeting on Friday the Board unanimously resolved to terminate the appointment of the Acting Executive Director of Medical Services and the Director of Surgery at Rockhampton Hospital."

The surgeon who performed the wrong-site surgery remains suspended.

Mr Ware said the Board wanted to assure Central Queenslanders that patient safety was its key concern.

More to come.

9.45am: AN INVESTIGATION in to surgeries performed by a doctor at the Rockhampton Hospital has revealed more cases.

It was revealed last week a foreign-trained doctor was under investigation for performing on the wrong kidney.

A press conference to be held at 10.30am at the hospital is expected to reveal there are up to six cases discovered so far.

The Courier-Mail has reported a spokesman for Health Minister Lawrence says an independent inquiry into the botched surgery has so far discovered four other cases including one other considered to involve patient harm.

Mr Springborg will give a statement to State Parliament this morning while the Central Queensland Health and Hospital Board will hold a press conference to give further details later this morning.

More to come.

Topics:  charles ware editors picks kidneys rockhampton hospital surgery



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