24 April 2012

Health admits the numbers have been fiddled at Canberra Hospital Health Director-General Dr Peggy Brown

| johnboy
Join the conversation

Health Director-General Dr Peggy Brown has been wheeled out to catch bullets for the Chief Minister and admit someone’s been playing silly buggers with Canberra Hospital’s Emergency Department numbers:

“This is a serious matter affecting the accuracy of our data reporting, but I would like to stress that it in no way reflects on the quality of care in the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department, or the professionalism of the doctors, nurses and allied health staff within the ED,” Dr Brown said.

A preliminary investigation into this matter has resulted in a senior administrative staff member at the Hospital being stood down pending an independent formal investigation. The investigation is due to commence this week and is expected to take several weeks.

“At this stage it appears that waiting and treatment times have been altered on some records without authority, and I am very sorry that this has occurred,” Dr Brown said.

“The evidence to date suggests this to be an isolated instance. I do not believe that the integrity and professionalism of the vast majority of Health Directorate staff should be judged, based on what appear to be the actions of one individual,” the Director-General said.

Information from the preliminary investigation suggests that the concerns are specific to the Emergency Department data, and further controls have already been put in place to ensure that the problems identified will not happen again.

The Directorate will also be commissioning a full external review across data collection and reporting systems at the Hospital.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Leinna said :

Doctor’s holidays are generally booked months in advance, so your last comment doesn’t hold much water.

Unless you think doctors should never get holidays…

I guess they could have poor management skills for scheduling their surgery lists and their holidays.. or maybe they think they’re above the rules. Probably a bit of both.. But I’m also not saying every doctor does it.

Doctor’s holidays are generally booked months in advance, so your last comment doesn’t hold much water.

Unless you think doctors should never get holidays…

It’s no different to the widespread unsupported downgrading of patients on the surgical waiting lists that has been happening for many years so that they don’t go over the deadlines.. or because the doctor wanted to take a holiday down the coast in that week.

Both the staff member doing the fudging and his/her immediate supervisor need to be sacked immediately. The “review/cover-up” can be held later.

The best example I’ve seen was when there was a new ‘ward’ created that shared the same beds as ED, and if someone overstayed the arbitrary time limit they were ‘admitted’ to the ‘ward’.

Made the numbers look good and didn’t compromise patient care by admitting them to the ward too early 🙂

VYBerlinaV8_is_back4:03 pm 24 Apr 12

Yeah, but Zed can’t fill in a flex sheet!

Wasn’t Katy the one made to look a bit silly with all that?

Federally-funded numbers are the most fun to fudge…

I worked in a major hospital a few years ago (not Canberra) and one of the Directors was doing exactly the same thing with the emergency dept. numbers.
Difference there was they managed to fix it without it hitting the papers.

Once you tie funding payments to ‘indicators’ like these, of course they’ll get tweaked!
Kinda like they do with public surgery waiting times, by moving people from high to lower priority categories (in some cases, with no clinical assessment!) to ensure the wait times for high categories look better…..
Bit tragic really, but lets get some more public artwork instead! People can sit and admire them while waiting I suppose.

Presumably making the numbers look better than what they are?

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.