CILENTO BUNGLE: SICKLY TRUTH
Hospital’s damning diagnosis
DISTURBING blunders during the opening of the $1.5 billion Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital will today be exposed in a damning review.
The Courier-Mail understands the report will highlight staff concerns over patient safety and insufficient time for training, raised internally before the flagship hospital’s troubled November opening.
The findings are expected to be so dire some senior doctors will push for the hospital to be renamed in the wake of the report, to allow for a fresh start.
Health Minister Cameron Dick, who commissioned the probe in April, will address demoralised hospital staff at 9.30am on the findings, which are also expected to include criticism of critical staff shortages in the paediatric intensive-care unit.
Children’s Health Queensland board chair Susan Johnston resigned last week after seeing a copy of the review, while Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she found aspects of the report “concerning” after a Cabinet briefing on Monday.
Some senior hospital figures say Ms Johnston has been made a scapegoat for problems that have emerged since the opening, including difficulties with amalgamating vastly divergent cultures from the two previous hospitals.
The former board chair is understood to be distraught over criticisms of mistakes made in the rush to open the hospital, a merger between the Royal Children’s and Mater Children’s public hospitals.
The Courier-Mail revealed a litany of problems during the hospital’s opening, including hiring delays, staff shortages, and information technology issues causing headaches with patient records.
It is understood months of trouble has taken a heavy toll on staff, with some deciding to resign amid the turmoil.
THE bungled opening of the $1.5 billion Lady Cilento Children's Hospital will be exposed in a damning review released today.
The State’s flagship children’s hospital has been plagued by problems highlighted by The Courier-Mail – including chronic staff shortages, training hold-ups and limited access to patient records – since it opened in November.
Today at 9.30am Health Minister Cameron Dick, who commissioned the probe in April, will address demoralised staff on the findings of the review, which will highlight key staff concerns raised before the opening and during its early weeks of operation.
The findings are a closely guarded secret with the Palaszczuk Government wanting to ensure the hospital’s employees are informed before the document is made public.
However, The Courier-Mail understands the review will address issues raised by staff in the days before the flagship hospital opened, including fears for patient safety and that there was not sufficient time to receive adequate training in the new hospital.
Critical staff shortages in the paediatric intensive care unit and the hospital’s troubled information technology system, which allows health workers access to patient records, are expected to be addressed in the review.
Both remain a concern for the hospital.
Children’s Health Queensland board chair, lawyer Susan Johnston, resigned last week after seeing a copy of the report with some senior hospital figures saying she has been made a scapegoat.
The former board chair is understood to be distraught over criticisms of mistakes made in the rush to open the Lady Cilento hospital, a merg- er between the Royal Children’s and Mater Children’s public hospitals.
Ms Johnston’s deputy Jane Yacopetti has taken over as acting board chair until the Government can appoint a replacement for Ms Johnston.
The Courier-Mail understands senior doctors will push for the hospital to be renamed in the wake of the review, to allow for a fresh start.
After Cabinet was briefed on the review’s findings on Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she found aspects of the report “concerning” but paid tribute to hospital staff for their hard work.
Children’s Health Queensland executives say the decision to open the Lady Cilento hospital almost nine months ago was necessary because the Royal Children’s and the Mater Children’s were both losing nursing staff before the merger, making them potential safety risks.
Delays in opening the Lady Cilento hospital would also have proved costly for the taxpayer, with Mater Health Services expected to bill Queensland Health for having to keep the Mater Children’s open for public patients past the contracted date for its closure.
The hospital’s CEO Fionnagh Dougan was briefed on the contents of the report yesterday.
Debora Picone, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care chief, led the review, and was
supported by Council on the Aging CEO Mark TuckerEvans and Ernst and Young’s David Roberts.
In an email yesterday, Ms Dougan invited staff to attend a special briefing at the hospital between 9.30am and 10.30am today.
She said Ms Picone and Mr Tucker-Evans would present their findings and take questions. Mr Dick would address staff at the conclusion of the briefing.
The Health Minister has said the review was necessary “so lessons could be learned and similar problems avoided for future projects”.
An earlier board-ordered report into the first two weeks of the hospital’s opening, released in March, found some level of dysfunction, including “several cases where the risk of a serious safety event was averted”. But no significant case of harm was found.
Ms Johnston has stood by the timing of the hospital’s opening.