Fatal healthcare lapses
THIRTEEN patients died and 32 suffered serious harm in the past year due to healthcare received from the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS), the board’s first report has revealed.
Board chair Professor Bryant Stokes said there were several unexpected suicides from mental health patients and other cases were a failure to recognise significant co-morbidities.
“It’s often ignoring what a patient is saying, and that’s why the voice of the patient is so, so important,” he said.
“People tend to want to hide behind things, but things go wrong, there’s no question about that.
“Every time we have an issue like this, we do learn from it and put processes in place to hopefully stop it happening again.”
Prof Stokes said reports were previously done centrally in the health department and wrapped up information from across Perth.
“For the first time, there’s been acknowledgement of some complications that have arisen during patient treatment in our service,” he said.
The NMHS manages services including Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Graylands Hospital, Osborne Park Hospital, Joondalup Health Campus, the state dental service and Pathwest, the State’s public pathology provider.
Issues within the emergency departments are apparent in the report; while category 5 patients are seen in the recommended time and category 1 patients are close to 100 per cent on target, categories 2 to 4 are falling behind.
Prof Stokes said the NMHS was changing the way patients are triaged.
“The other thing that’s occurring is staff are getting confronted all the time by violence; it’s a worry with people on drugs,” he said.
“Their strength is extraordinary, and that’s adding to stopping a department running smoothly.”
Prof Stokes said a key aim of the board was looking at how to provide services closer to where people lived.