Rockhampton hospital apologises after review into baby death, injuries.

By Isabella Higgins

Health officials have apologised for not recognising issues earlier at the Rockhampton Base Hospital maternity ward that contributed to the death of a baby and the serious injury of three others last year.

An independent review into the incidents was handed down on Wednesday, finding inadequate staffing, improper clinical training, and poor workplace culture contributed to the incidents.

It made 35 recommendations, all of which will be adopted.

They include the need for increased training, improved leadership from management and increased staff-to-patient ratios during labour and birth.

An urgent recruitment process was also needed to fill gaps in consultant obstetrician and paediatrician staffing.

Central Queensland Hospital Health Service chief executive Len Richards said it was clear the hospital let down those children and their families.

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“Our systems and processes have contributed to the poor outcomes in all four cases,” he said.

“On behalf of this organisation I apologise to those particular families.”

Hospital denies earlier action could have prevented death

Mr Richards said there were now eight more midwives working in the unit since last year as well as a director of midwifery.

“It is important for everyone to know we have not been sitting back waiting for this review before starting work in the unit,” he said.

“What we have now is a clear view of what is required and we have developed an action plan to ensure the recommendations are implemented as quickly as appropriate.”

Mr Richards denied action could have been taken earlier to prevent the death and injuries.

“Unions raised the issue of staffing levels midway through 2015 and we had an action plan to try and improve the staffing levels … that was an issue predominantly around attracting people to the service,” he said.

Queensland Health’s deputy director-general of clinical excellence Dr John Wakefield said people should be confident in the hospital, which he said was on par with other maternity services in the state.

“I think that should give some level of reassurance that the vast majority of women get really excellent outcomes from services in Rockhampton,” Dr Wakefield said.

“That takes nothing away from the fact that when adverse outcomes occur … that we leave no stone unturned in making sure that we understand what care was provided.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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