Annual report shows alarming spike in preventable clinical incidents

Oct 11, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

New figures showing a spike in the number of serious medical errors in the Child and Adolescent Health Service is another damning reflection of how the WA Labor government has failed to address the crisis in our hospitals.

The Child and Adolescent Health Service annual report showed SAC-1 clinical incidents had increased from 26 in 2020-21 to 32 in 2021-22.

The incidents resulted in the deaths of two children and are the result of the provision of care received rather than their underlying illness or condition. Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the significant jump in preventable incidents was deeply disturbing.

“Despite a series of reviews and recommendations about how to improve the CAHS in the last year, there has still been a significant increase in these preventable incidents putting children’s lives at risk,” Ms Mettam said.

“This is a by-product of a health system that is floundering, without the appropriate resources or funding and despite the best efforts of our health workers.

“Despite the WA Labor government’s rhetoric about record spending, the SAC-1 figures raise questions about how the funds are being directed and why they haven’t resulted in tangible improvements in the health outcomes of patients.

“Recent revelations about what the government has committed to and what it has actually delivered in Perth Children’s Hospital show there is a clear disconnect between the government’s spin and what is actually happening on the ground in our hospitals.” Ms Mettam said the shocking findings again illustrated why there needed to be a thorough and independent review of the health system.

“Clearly there are major systemic issues from the top down in culture, staffing and resources and unfortunately this is not limited to the CAHS,” Ms Mettam said.

“It’s clear there needs to be a circuit breaker and I once again urge the government to consider a Royal Commission into the WA health system.

“It’s important to remember that these incidents were the result of care provided in a system that is clearly at breaking point.

“We can not allow them to become the norm. There needs to be an urgent review and change to the way the health system operates.”