Media statement: Djerriwarrh Health Services
16 October 2015
Djerriwarrh Health Services has confirmed it has taken significant steps to address factors that may have contributed to a number of stillbirths and newborn deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Services (DjHS) between 2013 and 2014.
A comprehensive, independent investigation of 11 cases at DjHS between 2013 and early this year found a series of failures and deficiencies may have contributed to the deaths of up to seven babies.
Dr John Ballard is experienced in health administration and clinical governance, and was appointed to the DjHS board earlier this year as a delegate of Health Minister, Jill Hennessy.
Dr Ballard said the entire service was committed to three primary needs:
- Ensuring the wellbeing of the women and families whose babies died during this period; and
- Ensuring the present and future safety and quality of maternity and other clinical services at Bacchus Marsh; and
- Providing ongoing support to our staff.
“Everything that can possibly be done to ensure the wellbeing of the women and families whose babies died during this period, is being done,” he said.
“The service is committed to a rigorous open disclosure process, and each family is being given a full explanation about what happened, an apology, and intensive support including experienced counsellors.
“This is a painful and complex issue. It is being treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect for all affected, and we ask for anybody associated with this information to act in the same way.
“Djerriwarrh has, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, initiated all possible measures to reinforce the safety of its maternity and newborn services.
“We have new leadership, new equipment, new clinical governance and additional training and education for staff. We assure all mothers and their families that the steps we have taken will safeguard reliable and effective maternity services at Djerriwarrh Health Services.”
Dr Ballard said anybody with concerns about the care they currently receive at Djerriwarrh Heath Services should discuss this first with their doctor. Alternatively, those with urgent concerns should contact the Bacchus Marsh hospital directly on 5367-2000 or call the round-the-clock NURSE-ON-CALL Djerriwarrh Maternity Support Line on 1800 675 398.
An Employee Assistance Service has commenced for DjHS for staff who need support through this difficult period.