Urgent talks after death of babies

The Lady Cilento hospital has had its share of teething problems. Picture: Liam Kidston

The Lady Cilento hospital has had its share of teething problems. Picture: Liam Kidston Source: News Corp Australia

Together union secretary Alex Scott. Picture: Tim Marsden

Together union secretary Alex Scott. Picture: Tim Marsden Source: News Corp Australia

MAJOR patient safety concerns at the new Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital have been raised with Queensland Health Director-General Ian Maynard as inquiries continue into the deaths of two babies.

Coronial inquiries have begun into the deaths of a premature baby and a 22-month-old after treatment at the $1.5 billion hospital, which opened on November 29.

The premature baby, transferred from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, died after surgery at the Lady Cilento in December. The death of a 22-month-old girl has also been referred to the coroner.



A spokeswoman for the Office of the State Coroner yesterday said it was too early to determine whether inquests would be held into the deaths.

“A cause of death hasn’t been determined for either of them yet,” she said, adding that the coroner was yet to receive autopsy reports into the cases.

Together union secretary Alex Scott emailed Mr Maynard yesterday asking him to urgently meet with health workers at the hospital to listen to their concerns.

“Clinical staff advise that there are systemic issues at the LCCH that are critically impacting on patient safety caused by lack of staff, problems with staff retention, fatigue and morale, lack of equipment and medical supplies, lack of capacity … and lack of properly operating equipment,” the email said.

“The health and safety of staff has also been severely compromised, with reports of staff in severe distress due to stress, workload, and the emotional impact of the avoidable adverse patient safety events.”

In the email, Mr Scott asked Mr Maynard to release LCCH doctors from contractual obligations of confidentiality to allow them to discuss patient safety issues and brief elected members of Parliament so action can be taken once a new government is formed.

“No patients should die due to politics or failure to act,” Mr Scott wrote.

Children’s Health Services board chair Susan Johnston confirmed the coroner was investigating two “reportable deaths” of children after treatment at the LCCH.

“We are utterly committed to fully co-operating with the coroner. We are also committed to conducting our own internal review and to supporting the parents in any way we can,” she said.

Ms Johnston rejected suggestions of major equipment shortages or systemic issues at the hospital.

Late yesterday, Mr Maynard agreed to meet with LCCH clinicians.