Queensland hospital faces surgery probe

·3-min read

An independent review has been ordered amid mounting negligence claims against a major Queensland hospital, including botched surgeries and operations that resulted in deaths.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath has spent days defending the Caboolture Hospital in parliament.

But she admitted she no longer has full confidence the hospital has properly investigated very serious allegations.

They include that a doctor performed surgery outside their scope of expertise, and that a whistleblower warned the hospital's executive director Angie Dobbrick about such concerns last year.

Ms D'Ath now says it's clear an independent review of surgical services - ordered on Thursday by the board that oversees the hospital - is warranted.

She has also revealed she's made her own inquiries to determine if the hospital properly followed up on the complaint to Ms Dobbrick.

"There wasn't clear evidence that this had been thoroughly investigated," she told reporters.

"I was not satisfied with the response that I got overnight so I cannot have full confidence.

"And if I can't have full confidence, the public can't have full confidence that all proper processes had been followed in relation to complaints, because of this most recent incident."

Metro North Health's acting chief executive Jackie Hanson responded to the minister's comments, expressing full support for the executive leadership team, including Ms Dobbrick.

"Ms Dobbrick's commitment to staff and patients is unparalleled," she said in a statement to AAP.

The health minister has faced days of questions in parliament this week about standards of care at the hospital.

On Tuesday, Ms D'Ath was asked if she could guarantee that all surgeries performed at the hospital were done by surgeons qualified to perform them.

She replied by saying allegations about the hospital's surgical services were first raised with her in mid-July. That prompted her to seek advice from the hospital and Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

"I can advise that each of those allegations was thoroughly investigated by the Caboolture Hospital's performance management committee," she said.

She noted that one of the three reported deaths was referred to the coroner who opted not to investigate further. Later she revealed a dedicated hotline had been set up for anyone with complaints about the care they received.

On Wednesday, the minister attacked the state opposition for framing the situation as a "crisis", and said no evidence had yet been offered of any systemic flaws in the hospital system.

On Thursday, she said she was "pleased" that external reviewers would look at what was happening at the hospital.

"It is important that we give the public confidence, and I want to have confidence that what is happening at the hospital is the best quality of care."

Opposition health spokesperson Ros Bates had demanded the results of the review be publicly released.

"It is incredibly disappointing that it's taken four days of sustained questioning and media reports for the government to act," she said in a statement.

In announcing the review of surgical services, Metro North Health Board chair Jim McGowan said it was about "transparency and community confidence".

He said it would consider the allegations that have been made, identify the effectiveness of the processes already in place, and make recommendations for further improvements if needed.

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