Multiple failures forces Fentiman apologise again and order hospitals to act

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman has used a Ministerial directive to order hospitals to provide medical attention to rape victims within 10 minutes of reporting to hospitals, where possible.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

It’s the first time the directive has been used in Queensland since it was brought in more than a decade ago and was issued after “multiple hospitals” failed to provide timely care to the victim of sexual assault.

Fentiman also had to apologise again for the actions that occurred within her portfolio. Last month a rape victim was turned away by a central Queensland hospital and later received an apology via text. In June she apologised to a woman who complained of being traumatised at Ipswich Hospital after a miscarriage.

Before the directive was issued Fentiman had twice told hospitals to act.

Under the directive the 26 reporting hospitals were obligated to ensure that appropriately trained and supported staff were available to administer forensic tests in a timely manner, 24 hours a day.

“I have repeatedly made my expectation clear that victims of rape and sexual assault are treated in a timely and trauma-informed way,” Fentiman said.

“Unfortunately, on too many occasions, this has failed to happen.

“That is why I have taken this step of issuing a Ministerial Directive under the legislation to ensure that our public hospitals are appropriately caring for victims.

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“Every single woman who presents at a public hospital following a sexual assault expects and is entitled to be seen within 10 minutes.”

“Margaret McMurdo and the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce made clear that this is a societal problem with system-wide shortcomings.

“My hope is that this will mean not a single additional victim-survivor is let down by our health system.

“To every woman who has ever had to endure this trauma and who has not received the standard of care she is entitled to through our health system, I am sorry.”


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