The ACT Government will face even more scrutiny over health delivery with an Assembly committee to mount an inquiry into the Territory’s maternity services.
The new inquiry comes after the Government caved in to demands for an independent inquiry into ACT Health, although Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris has resisted calls for a full Board of Inquiry.
It also comes after an anonymous letter believed to have been written by senior nurses and midwives at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children was sent to Ms Fitzharris earlier in the year claiming that Centenary was understaffed, under-resourced, women’s and babies’ health was being compromised and bullying was continuing to occur.
The Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Health, Ageing and Community Services will run the inquiry, chaired by Labor MLA Michael Pettersson.
The committee will look at all models of care offered at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children (CHWC) and Calvary Public Hospital (CPH), including the Birth Centre, the Canberra Midwifery Program, and the Home Birth Trial and whether there are any gaps in care.
It will also examine private maternity services.
From a staff point of view, the Committee will look at rostering policies and practices, staff-to-patient ratios, optimum staffing levels, as well as interaction with other departments such as Emergency and operating theatres.
It wants to hear from patients about their experiences at Centenary and Calvary and whether they were satisfied with the care and service they received.
Management issues such as patient flow, including waiting lists, booking services, and capacity constraints, as well as patient birthing preferences and emergencies will also be examined.
Mr Pettersson said the Committee recognised that pregnancy and childbirth were profoundly significant life experiences and that experiences accompanying them should be of the highest quality.
“The Committee is aware that there is a range of maternity care models available in the ACT. The Committee also acknowledges that there is an increasing demand for continuous care across the maternity pathway and wants to ensure that all pathways are working well within ACT Maternity Services,” he said.
“The Committee looks forward to hearing from the community, as well as the health sector about what is working well in ACT Maternity Services and what can be improved”.
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