Blacktown Hospital Stillborn Baby Care Procedures
|About this Item||Subjects||Hospitals: Blacktown Hospital; Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC); Birth
||Speakers||Nile Reverend The Hon Fred; Hatzistergos The Hon John
||Business||Questions Without Notice
||Commentary|| Answered on 29 August 2006 by John Hatzistergos
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. What official procedures govern the care and removal of stillborn children in New South Wales hospitals? How do these procedures differ, if at all, from those for late-term aborted babies? Are these procedures documented, and are New South Wales hospital staff trained in these procedures? Will the Minister inform the House why stillborn baby Angelina went missing from Blacktown Hospital on 13 May? What is the Minister doing to get to the bottom of the situation and provide closure for the grieving family of baby Angelina?
The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: I express my condolences once again to the family involved in this tragic matter. I have spoken personally to the father and have apologised and expressed my deepest regrets to his family. The chief executive of the area health service, Professor Steven Boyages, has also apologised unreservedly to the family and advised that an investigation into the circumstances, which will be overseen by independent senior clinician Professor Caroline Homer, has been launched and will be completed this week. This is one of several investigations examining the matter, including a referral to the local police. I have also referred the matter to the Health Care Complaints Commission for its attention. In addition, I have directed that the Director General of NSW Health undertake an urgent review of all guidelines relating to still births and I have asked that the Stillbirth Foundation be involved in the review.
I am advised that the area health service has stayed in close contact with the family and kept it informed about actions being taken to investigate this terrible tragedy. People who suffer the loss of a loved one, including through stillbirth, should have their views respected in terms of the body of the loved one and what happens to it. I am advised that the area health service will meet the family to discuss the findings of the investigation as soon as it is completed. Everything will be done to ensure that similar circumstances do not occur again. Guidelines are in place to deal with circumstances such as this, however, I am not certain as to their public availability. Accordingly, I will take that aspect of the question on notice. But I indicate to the House, as I did to the honourable member earlier, that these matters are under review.