Patel victim weighs in on latest hospital bungles
A PATIENT advocate has questioned the quality of surgical audits being performed at public hospitals across Queensland, after bungles involving two Redland Hospital surgeons.
Beryl Crosby, a former patient of disgraced Bundaberg Hospital surgeon Jayant Patel, said robust audits should be a routine part of a surgeon's performance review and risk management in hospitals.
She said issues involving the Redland Hospital surgeons dating back years should have been picked up in regular audits.
More than 1700 patients will be offered rescreening for cancer after concerns were raised about the surgeons' "thoroughness" in performing procedures known as scopes.
One of the surgeons retired in August, 2014, while the other has been banned in Queensland from performing endoscopies and colonoscopies - procedures to examine a patient's digestive tract - since September 2018.
Queensland Health has announced an independent investigation into the problems at Redland Hospital, which will include how statewide monitoring of clinical care outcomes can be improved.
The department is yet to announce the terms of reference for the inquiry or who will head it.
Queensland Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates has called for a "full and open" inquiry into cancer screening at Redland Hospital.
"Patients and the wider community have a right to know how these problems arose and how they will be prevented in future," Ms Bates said.
Ms Crosby said the investigation into Redland Hospital needed to explore why the issues with scopes were not made public at the time problems with the doctors' performances were first identified.
Problems with one of the surgeons emerged in 2014, while issues with the other were first raised in 2018.
"Most patients can accept when errors occur and want assurance that mechanisms will be put in place to assure it doesn't happen to anyone else," Ms Crosby said.
"But what we can't accept is a culture of concealment."
She called on the State Government to restore the Health Queensland and Complaints Commission, which was abolished by the Newman Government and replaced with a health ombudsman.
"The HQCC was not only there to investigate complaints, it also looked at systemic health issues and advised governments on how to improve the quality and safety of patients," Ms Crosby said.
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department's priority during the Redland Hospital issues was "patient safety, accountability and transparency".
"We will determine exactly how these incidents happened and what needs to be done to prevent a similar situation occurring again," she said.
"We will ensure recommendations are implemented, including any lessons for the broader healthcare system."
The spokeswoman said the department had committed to making the results of the investigation public "whilst ensuring that the right to confidentiality of individual patients is maintained".