Vic govt can't assure health system safety

·1-min read

Seven years after a cluster of baby deaths at a Victorian hospital, the Department of Health still cannot assure the system's safety and quality.

In 2016, a scathing review found 11 babies died potentially avoidable deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Service at Bacchus Marsh between 2001 and 2014.

Their deaths triggered a massive overhaul of the state's health system.

But a report tabled by the Victorian Auditor-General's office on Tuesday found the Department of Health had implemented only one of the 11 capability frameworks it agreed to carry out.

They were supposed to be fully enforced by 2019.

The reason, according to a letter from the department to VAGO, is because staff had been deployed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The VAGO report found the Department of Health had made some clinical governance improvements since 2016, but its ability to assure Victorians of the health systems quality and safety remains limited.

It also found gaps in the department's risk assessment process as well as outdated management guidelines.

The report made 18 recommendations, including 11 on overseeing and managing risks across the health system.

In a letter to the auditor-general included in the report, the Department of Health accepted all recommendations.

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