There has been a strong negative response to the reported notification of our junior doctor, along with two junior nurses, to AHPRA by hospital managers before the Coronial or independent inquiry. Such action was not needed at this time. Nor was it necessary to summarily remove these staff members from the workplace on special leave some five to six weeks after the incident.
To help improve the chance that this is a balanced, fair and complete inquiry, I will be formally asking that if any complaint proceeds against the doctor, that AHPRA also considers the following:
- The SAC1 report.
- The Coronial Inquiry.
- Review of Quality and Safety in the WA Health System, 2017.
- The role of the Director General (DG) of WA Health Dr David Russell-Weisz, regarding advice the Minister says he received not to implement Malakai’s Rule in 2016.
- The DG’s refusal of CAHS Chief Executive (CE) Dr Aresh Anwar’s resignation; his reason for not referring the CE to AHPRA (as was carried out for our junior doctor).
- The CE’s reasons for offering to resign as a result of this incident.
- The CE’s role, if any, in allowing release of a SAC1 report to anyone including the Government (especially when it is reported the junior staff had been assured it was confidential and they did not require legal assistance in their preparation) and even before the report had been approved by PCH.
- The CE’s response or actions, if any, in regard to repeated requests for changes to ED waiting area protocols and staffing before the incident.
There is no intention to impugn any individuals here. My aim is to ensure that there is a level playing field and that all senior people involved in decision-making and responsible for system management who may have contributed to this outcome, are appropriately included in any investigation.
The family are dignified in their anger and search for answers, wanting to have all levels from the Minister down held accountable. In my view, they understand very well that there were systemic issues as well as potentially individual failings at play. They feel terribly let down by the way they have been treated in the aftermath, including being given a SAC1 report that is not yet endorsed by the hospital as being accurate or complete.
On broader issues, we are seeking an acknowledgement from the Minister for Health that the pressure on EDs is unsustainable, and that further tragedies resulting from waiting and overcrowding will occur without drastic and immediate improvements in all facilities.
To that end, the AMA (WA) has joined with the ANF to hold a 30-minute lunchtime rally outside PCH tomorrow Tuesday 25 May at 12.30pm, on the grassed area opposite SCGH’s ED. We encourage all AMA (WA) members and non-members to attend.
Please be mindful of WA Health policies regarding social media and public comment as well as the following:
- Patients are your priority, so please only attend if you are not on shift.
- If you do attend, and are wearing scrubs, please ensure there are no identifiable logos visible. Pull on a jumper/jacket, or cover any WA Health or hospital logos.
- Due to parking constraints, we encourage you to consider public transport.
Please do not make any comment to the media in attendance as this will be in breach of the Code of Conduct.
If you are unable to attend the rally and still wish to support your colleagues, you can do so by participating in our social media campaign:
- Download and print out the poster.
- Take a photo of you/your team with the poster.
- Post it on your social media page and tag the AMA (WA) using the following handles:
- Include the following hashtags #4PCHdocsandnurses #4WApatients
- Please do not use any WA Health Department assets to post your social media and ensure no identifiable logos appear in the photograph.
There will also be a live stream of the rally on the AMA (WA) Facebook page.
We are seeking fairness for Aishwarya’s family, immediate improvements to ALL EDs, and expressing solidarity with our PCH colleagues. Minister Roger Cook will be invited and treated respectfully if he attends.
Over the last week, we have had strong, positive member feedback from PCH and doctors across the WA Health system.
I look forward to you joining us tomorrow, either on the ground or virtually, to support our colleagues at PCH.
Dr Andrew Miller
AMA (WA) President