Health Minister out of touch on progress of critical recommendations to improve PCH 

Feb 27, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

 The Health Minister’s admission key recommendations to improve Perth Children’s Hospital had not been implemented despite earlier assurances show the Minister is clearly out of touch with what is happening in her department, Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said. 

“It’s extraordinary that almost two years since the tragic death of Aishwarya Aswath that the Health Minister continues to divert and deflect attention from the failings in the system rather than urgently oversee recommendations to fix the hospital,” Ms Mettam said. 

“When I raised this important issue in Parliament last year, the Minister was adamant a supernumerary team was in place when clearly it wasn’t. 

“All we have heard so far is more weasel words, despite this being one of the most critical gaps in the emergency department. 

“There is a clear disconnect between what staff on the floor at PCH are reporting and what the government is telling us. 

“The Minister is clearly not across her portfolio and what is happening in WA’s health system.” 

Ms Mettam also questioned the Minister’s claims that significant work was already underway to implement four of the five recommendations outlined in the Deputy Coroner’s report into Aishwarya’s death released last Friday. 

“One of those recommendations includes patient-to-nurse ratios yet the head of the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) couldn’t say how many extra nurses will be needed to fulfil patient-to-nurse ratios as CAHS hadn’t worked it out yet. 

“Talk of ratios is not new. Surely someone somewhere in the system must have done some modelling on what is required to fulfill these recommendations and if not, why not?” 

Ms Mettam said it had also been more than a year since the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital was tabled but more than a third of the recommendations were yet to be implemented. 

“As of last month, the latest data shows that only 17 of the 30 recommendations made in the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital had been completed*. 

“There does not appear to be any real urgency in fixing the issues that exist in our flagship children’s hospital, despite the potential risk to patient safety. 

“The government cannot sit on its hands for another two years when it comes to implementing these recommendations to improve a hospital that so clearly failed Aishwarya Aswath and her family. 

“Aishwarya’s death was a tragedy, her family has suffered enough and has had to fight for answers every step of the way. The Minister need to treat these reforms with the critical urgency they deserve.”