Statement on Djerriwarrh Health Service, Bacchus Marsh

Friday 16 October 2015
A message from AMA Victoria President, Dr Tony Bartone:
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families involved in the tragedy at Djerriwarrh Health Service. These families have endured the unimaginable and ongoing loss that comes with the death of a child; the news that these deaths may have been avoidable is utterly shattering.
There have been immense failings at this hospital. The State Government has undertaken an investigation and implemented a range of actions to support the hospital. These include improved governance, improved maternity support and increased staff training. They have also made a state-wide change to perinatal death reviews, and regional perinatal morbidity and mortality committees will be established.
Investigations are ongoing – the Coroner has been informed and AHPRA is investigating. We await the findings of these reports, and the recommendations and actions that come with them.
I do want to emphasise that this tragedy does not reflect the care that is normally provided by rural and regional hospitals. Patients must feel confident with their local hospital. Victoria’s regional and rural hospitals are safe and skilled institutions and they are an integral part of their local communities.
We must learn from this tragedy, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Our thoughts are with the families, and the Bacchus Marsh community, during this time.
More information on the changes can be viewed on the Department of Health's website.
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