09 November 2021

Response to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital

The Department of Health has today released the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH), along with a response from the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) Board.

WA Health Director General, Dr David Russell-Weisz said the Department of Health and CAHS had accepted the report’s 30 recommendations, which cover key areas such as sepsis identification, parent escalation, consumer engagement (particularly culturally and linguistically diverse families), clinical governance, workforce planning and supply and organisational culture.

The Inquiry, which followed the tragic death of Aishwarya Aswath on 3 April 2021, was undertaken by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), and led by Emeritus Professor Les White, former inaugural NSW Chief Paediatrician and former President of Children's Hospitals Australasia.

The Inquiry outlines the care which was provided to Aishwarya and the experiences of her family, and more broadly examined the care provided by PCH.

In releasing the report, Dr Russell-Weisz paid tribute to Aishwarya’s family for their ongoing cooperation and grace, in working with the Inquiry team during a period of unimaginable grief.

“I would like to personally thank Aishwarya’s family for working closely with the Inquiry team to give their heartfelt insights and feedback, and for working with the Department of Health to ensure improvements to our hospital system are made,” Dr Russell-Weisz said.

“The Inquiry identified key challenges faced by PCH staff in the lead up to, and during this tragic event, but also importantly confirmed the commitment and dedication of PCH staff as they care for sick and injured children in Western Australia.”

Dr Russell-Weisz said CAHS would lead the implementation of the recommendations related to PCH workforce planning, patient flow, education and learning pathways, organisational and committee structures and culture.

“All recommendations that are applicable to the whole heath system have been accepted by the Department and will be implemented across the system,” Dr Russell-Weisz said.

“I would like to thank Emeritus Professor White, the Inquiry team and the ACSQHC for their comprehensive review and investigation.

“By implementing the recommendations of the Inquiry, the WA health system will learn from Aishwarya’s tragic death to further enhance its safety and quality frameworks.”

Dr Russell-Weisz said the Inquiry also found that PCH was an excellent hospital with an exemplary record against many national safety and quality indicators.

“In relation to safety and quality performance reporting, the WA health system will continue to ensure that it is transparent when incidents occur, so that strategies can be developed to improve patient outcomes,” Dr Russell-Weisz said.

“Our hospital staff work tirelessly in challenging environments every day; I give them my thanks and support as the process of healing and learning from this tragic event continues.”

View the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH), along with a response from the CAHS Board.


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