Castley Calls for urgent review of early warning system for children at Canberra Hospital


Following last nights’ shocking A Current Affair investigation into the Canberra Hospital Shadow Minister for Health Leanne Castley is calling on the Health Minister to urgently review emergency paediatric care for seriously ill children.

During the report that focussed on the recent deaths of two Canberra children, ACT President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Professor Walter Abhayaratna made a number of concerning comments relating to the Canberra Hospital’s early warning system.

Professor Abhayaratna said the Canberra Hospital’s early warning system is ‘not fit for purpose to identify patients in a timely fashion’ and currently it ‘does not identity extremely unwell children early enough’.

The Professor also went on to say ‘I think there are some changes that could be introduced immediately and the early warning system is an example’ and ‘not having access to paediatric services makes it worse’.

Shadow Minister for Health Leanne Castley said for the sake of every concerned parent or carer across the ACT, the Health Minister must act now to urgently review the care of seriously ill children at The Canberra Hospital.

“These harrowing stories send a chill down the spine of every parent,” Ms Castley said.

“If the president of the ACT AMA is saying the system currently in place at the Canberra Hospital does not identify extremely unwell children early enough, especially compared to other states like NSW and Victoria then this is something that needs to be addressed immediately.

“I agree with the Health Minister when she says the death of any child is a tragedy, but the question remains, what is she doing today to improve things following these deaths?

“While the Labor-Greens government continues to spruik the delayed Canberra Hospital expansion that will have four paediatric ICU beds, this is still three years away.

“The Canberra Liberals want to know what will be done now to support children’s health at the Canberra Hospital,” Ms Castley concluded.