Ryan Saunders
Ryan Saunders Photo supplied

Suggestions spur hospital change

THE woman who conducted a two-year investigation into the death at Rockhampton Hospital of two-year-old Ryan Saunders said yesterday she'd been impressed by the response to her recommendations.

Cheryl Herbert, the head of the Health Quality and Complaints Commission, visited the hospital yesterday and met with staff who had been involved in the tragedy and its aftermath.

“There's an overwhelming sense from everyone here that the report has been useful,” Ms Herbert said.

“The report took a long time to compile and the investigation was extremely thorough.”

She said she was pleased to see that improvements she had suggested were already being implemented.

“In the new year there will be a round of reporting on them and an update on what's been done to address the problems raised during the inquiry,” she said.

Although the report's findings have not been made public because it contains personal medical information relating to a matter still the subject of a coronial inquiry, it is understood it was critical of some failings in Ryan's treatment.

The toddler died in agony several days after being transferred to Rockhampton from Emerald. His condition was not diagnosed and a post mortem examination concluded he was killed by a toxic shock reaction to a rare bacterial infection.

The manner of his death caused a public outcry in Emerald and allegations of second-class health care in the region.

Queensland Health has promised to fully implement all Ms Herbert's recommendations.

During her two-day visit to Rockhampton, Ms Herbert will also be meeting medical staff at Mater and Hillcrest hospitals, mental health workers, GPs and the health community council.

She said she thought the city's health services had to constantly evolve to meet patient and community expectations, but she thought the vision was about right.


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