Legislative Council: Thursday, February 09, 2023


Women's and Children's Hospital

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:04): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney, representing the Minister for Health in another place, a question about medical accreditation at the Women's and Children's Hospital.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is the latest medical college to write to the Women's and Children's Health Network outlining a number of concerns it has with the hospital's accreditation, this time with general medicine and paediatrics. It's the hospital's third medical accreditation issue in less than three months, following similar issues with the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

So concerned is the college, it has only given the hospital provisional accreditation for 12 months—when the norm is usually about three years—and with conditions. As we all know in this place, a hospital's accreditation is the most critical aspect of its entire operation. Without the necessary accreditation in place, it simply cannot operate.

The recent crisis is being viewed by many in the medical profession as another glaring sign of the incompetence of the senior executive team at the hospital. The chief executive officer, Lindsey Gough, has sent a communiqué to staff this morning watering down the issue but refuses to publicly release the correspondence from the college. My questions to the minister are:

1. Did the hospital senior executive team advise the minister this time of the accreditation downgrade?

2. Will the minister instruct the hospital to publicly release the report correspondence from the college and provide a public response to it, or will he do it?

3. Does the minister maintain confidence in the Women's and Children's Hospital CEO and senior executive team, given the ongoing issues and downgrades?

4. What will he be doing to address the ongoing and worsening issues with accreditation at the hospital?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:06): I thank the honourable member for her questions and I will refer those to my colleague in another place who has responsibility for the health portfolio and bring back a reply to the member.