The Health News – 24 March 2016

Overview:
• Consumer group Choice is calling for a mandatory safety standard for all cot mattresses after its testing found three products from big-name brands posed a suffocation risk to babies.

• Systemic failures by Victoria’s health department pose an unacceptably high risk to the safety of public hospital patients, Victoria’s auditor-general has found.

• More medical staff at the Bacchus Marsh hospital where a cluster of preventable baby deaths were uncovered are being investigated, the national health regulator has revealed.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th of March 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-23/consumer-group-calls-for-mandatory-cot-mattress-safety-standard/7270234

Consumer group Choice is calling for a mandatory safety standard for all cot mattresses after its testing found three products from big-name brands posed a suffocation risk to babies.

Choice tested 12 products and found mattresses by Sealy, Love N Care and Childcare were too soft and could potentially cover a baby’s face.

An Australian standard for the firmness of mattresses was introduced in 2013, but is not mandatory.

Tom Godfrey from Choice said it was time the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) looked at introducing mandatory standards.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-23/health-department-slammed-for-threatening-safety-of-patients/7269954

Systemic failures by Victoria’s health department pose an unacceptably high risk to the safety of public hospital patients, Victoria’s auditor-general has found.

The audit found the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had not complied with its patient safety framework and did not have an effective statewide incident reporting system, despite some of the failures being identified in a similar audit more than 10 years ago.

Acting auditor-general Dr Peter Frost said it was not possible to determine whether patient safety had improved in hospitals.

“While some data exist that indicate improvement in patient safety in Victorian public hospitals, such as reductions in insurance claims and infection rates, these are only indicative,” he said.

“This means that neither the DHHS nor the hospitals can know whether overall patient safety outcomes have improved.”

The auditor-general made 13 recommendations aimed at improving the department’s leadership and oversight of patient safety and the management of incidents by hospitals.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-22/ahpra-investigating-bacchus-marsh-health-baby-deaths-stillborn/7267284

More medical staff at the Bacchus Marsh hospital where a cluster of preventable baby deaths were uncovered are being investigated, the national health regulator has revealed.

The Victorian Government reviewed all perinatal deaths at the hospital, which was run by the Djerriwarrh Health Service, dating back to 2001, after seven deaths at the hospital in 2013 and 2014 were found to be avoidable.

The independent investigation found a series of “catastrophic” clinical and governance failures may have contributed to the deaths of seven babies at the hospital.

Criticism was levelled at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for its role in the scandal, after it took over two years to respond to complaints about the doctor who headed up the unit at the time of the deaths.

AHPRA chief Martin Fletcher …[stated] the regulator was now investigating a number of individuals who were practising at the hospital at the time.

“What we’ve had to …do is go back through all of the medical records of the mothers and babies that have been involved in this tragedy,” he said.

“We’ve reviewed more than 13,000 pages of medical records and then identified the individual registered health practitioners to look at those who may be required to tell us more about what they did and what they didn’t do.”

The hospital’s former director of obstetrics, Surinder Pahar, had conditions placed on his registration in June, following a 28-month investigation by AHPRA.

He was reported to AHPRA by another doctor in 2013 and has since retired.