Two-year ban over Vic hospital baby deaths

·2-min read

A former Victorian hospital department director has been handed a two-year medical registration ban following a cluster of stillbirths and newborn deaths a decade ago.

Elizabeth Wilson, the director of clinical and quality support services at Bacchus Marsh Hospital from 2009 to 2015, was found by the Victorian and Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have failed in key aspects of her role.

In 2016, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and national boards for health professions launched investigations over the care provided by 43 health practitioners at the hospital from October 2011 to February 2013.

Ms Wilson, formerly a registered physiotherapist, was alleged to have failed to ensure the effective investigation, management and analysis of incidents reported by staff, including carrying out appropriate clinical reviews of all perinatal deaths.

Other allegations included:

* Failure to ensure hospital operator Djerriwarrah Health Services had a system to identify clinical risks and relevant training and education of staff.

* Failure to ensure the service had clear booking and transfer criteria suitable to its capacity and these controls were utilised.

The Physiotherapy Board and Ms Wilson agreed those all amounted to professional misconduct and agreed to a 10-year disqualification of her physiotherapy registration.

VCAT, however, settled on a two-year ban.

"While this outcome may bring little comfort to those families affected by the tragic deaths of babies at Bacchus Marsh, we hope that it does help ensure that babies and families will be safer in the future," Ahpra chief executive Martin Fletcher said in a statement.

Physiotherapy Board chair Kim Gibson said clinical governance responsibilities were clearly not meeting expected standards at the hospital during the spate of stillbirths and newborn deaths.

"Health practitioners, particularly those in leadership roles, have professional responsibility at all levels to ensure the delivery of safe and quality care. This includes overseeing the safe delivery of care by their employees," she said.

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