Fear over mystery deaths in hospital
THE State Opposition has called for an independent investigation into two “unexplained deaths” in Fairfield Hospital’s maternity unit.
The deaths, which have been referred to the Coroner, occurred in December 2015.
NSW Health has refused to reveal details of the circumstances surrounding the deaths but has admitted it overhauled the maternity unit afterwards.
Fairfield Hospital General Manager Arnold Tammekand said the overhaul had included enhancing the hospital’s paediatric service with paediatric doctors “available on site 24hours, seven days a week”.
“The service will ensure immediate and specialised care for newborn babies through to adolescents. A number of strategies and initiatives have been implemented ... including monthly Maternity Risk Management Committee meetings,” he said.
The hospital has not revealed whether the deaths involved mothers or babies. At a recent meeting of the South Western Sydney Area Health Service Board, it was revealed a senior midwife had resigned.
State opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said the public had a right to know what had caused the deaths, that were of such concern they had triggered an overhaul of the maternity unit.
“We know that staff have been removed, but that is all we know,” he said. “Health district board minutes show that the Fairfield Hospital incident was related to a lack of resources and was funding-related. That lies straight at the feet of the NSW Government.”
Mr Secord said the matter was so serious that the December 2015 deaths were discussed at the South Western Sydney Local Health District full board meetings on at least three occasions, including February 15 and March 21.