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‘In the public interest’: Minister sacks entire Mackay Hospital board

The board of Queensland’s troubled Mackay Hospital has been sacked by the state government, after almost 100 women complained about the care they had received.

Nov 22, 2022, updated Nov 22, 2022
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath  (AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath (AAP Image/Darren England)

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath announced the decision on Tuesday, saying an administrator had been appointed.

“I made that recommendation to the Governor in Council because I was satisfied it is in the public interest that all members of the board be dismissed,” she said in a statement.

“In the circumstances, I am not satisfied that the board is able to implement the recommendations of the report, including the cultural change needed across the hospital.”

The board had been given a November 4 deadline to respond to a show cause notice and justify why it should not be dismissed after a damning report into the central Queensland hospital’s gynaecology and obstetrics department.

Four clinicians and another staff member had resigned and were referred to the ombudsman after the report released in October found inadequate care at the hospital contributed to the deaths of three babies.

It also flagged problems with incident monitoring, safety and quality complications management, and clinical deterioration between 2019 and 2021.

The state government had ordered the probe after female patients complained about complications from caesareans and inadequate hospital care.

Almost 100 women gave evidence they had been neglected and suffering ongoing pain through unresolved medical conditions.

Some 26 cases fell below expected medical standards resulting in personal injury or harm, the report found.

Liberal National opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates was outraged at the timing of the announcement to coincide with the report into the QPS.

“The timing of the announcement is dripping in arrogance,” Bates said.

“Despite having show cause notices for weeks … Yvette D’Ath rushed through an extraordinary meeting with the Governor on the very same day the failings of the Palaszczuk government were exposed in another damning report.

“Victims of domestic and family violence and the mothers of Mackay are the ones who lose when the government has no interest in letting the sun shine in on critical issues we must repair.”

The administrator appointed to the hospital is Karen Roach, who has more than 35 years experience in management and leadership posts in health organisations in the public and private sectors.

“I’m confident Ms Roach will work well with Special Advisor Dr Robert Herkes and the hardworking staff on Mackay HHS to deliver improved services,” D’Ath said.

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