Independent Report from the Co-Chairs for the Child Safe Governance Review of the Launceston General Hospital and Human Resources
On 9 December 2022, the Co-Chairs of the Governance Advisory Panel submitted their report into the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) and Human Resources to the Secretary of the Department of Health.
The Child Safe Governance Review - Governance Advisory Panel has undertaken an extensive review of child safety and governance in the Launceston General Hospital and Human Resources.
The Governance Advisory Panel has heard that since 2019, there has been significant work undertaken by the Department of Health aimed at strengthening child safety. The Secretary of the Department of Health, the Department of Health Executive and the Tasmanian Health Executive have all signed a Statement of Commitment in relation to keeping children and young people safe and improving the way they work with children and young people.
The Child Safe Organisations Project (the Project) is underway and is part of the Tasmanian Government’s response to the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and associated child safe standards. The Project aims to achieve systemic changes to enhance the way the Department of Health works with vulnerable people, with a specific focus on children and young people.
The Child Safe Governance Review found exemplary policy frameworks and incident reporting systems are already in place at the Department of Health and the Department is now progressing with implementing best practice models for complaints management.
Staff are now able to report matters relating to child sexual abuse to a centralised Statewide Complaints Oversight Unit established within the Office of the Secretary. Concerns about the behaviour of staff members, volunteers or contractors can also now be reported to the Office of the Secretary by using a simple online form.
The Review also heard that significant human resource management reforms have also commenced. These reforms include the One Health Cultural Improvement Program which aims to improve the culture at the Department of Health and build a stronger, inclusive workplace culture for the Department of Health.
All children and young people have the right to feel and be safe in all health care settings.
The LGH had the institutional responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, and clearly failed in that responsibility.
The Report from the Co-Chairs contains 92 recommendations (including the 7 Interim Recommendations that were accepted by the Tasmanian Government in September 2022).
The Premier has acknowledged the recommendations from the Governance Advisory Panel and has announced that the Tasmanian Government will accept and implement all 92 recommendations in full.
Read the announcement from the Premier.
In September this year, the Panel delivered to the Secretary a series of interim recommendations on the executive leadership of the Launceston General Hospital and other matters relating to child safety.
The Premier has acknowledged the interim recommendations from the Governance Advisory Panel and has committed to actioning them immediately.
Read the announcement from the Premier:
The following provides an update on the implementation of the interim recommendations as well as additional measures the Department of Health announced at the same time.
Executive Structure at the Launceston General Hospital
- An external advertising process has been undertaken for the separate positions of Chief Executive Hospitals North and Chief Executive Hospitals North West, with the appointment of Jennifer Duncan to the position of Chief Executive Hospitals North now confirmed.
- The recommendation relating to the Director of Allied Health sitting at the second tier of the LGH Executive structure was accepted and will be implemented along with other changes to the Executive structure coming out of the final report.
- The Statement of Duties and position title for the Executive Director of Nursing is currently being reviewed and updated in consultation with the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer.
- The position of Deputy Executive Director Medical Services (EDMS) has been created and, as a result of the Expression of Interest process, two Deputy EDMS positions have been filled for a fixed term period in the North. An external advertising process to fill this position longer term will be underway in the new year.
- Two Director of Improvement positions now exist, with a permanent appointment to the position in the North, and a fixed term appointment currently in place in the North West position. A recruitment process for this role will commence shortly.
- The position of Deputy Secretary Hospitals and Primary Care has been created and is currently being filled for a fixed term period. An external advertising process to fill this position longer term will be underway in the new year.
- A new Statement of Duties for a Chief Risk Officer is currently being developed, with an acting arrangement expected to be in place in the new year while a recruitment process is undertaken.
Safeguarding Children at the LGH
- A statewide Child Safety and Wellbeing Service has been established and as part of this service Child Safeguarding Officers will be located on site at the major hospitals in Tasmania, including at the LGH. The resources at the LGH will have a direct reporting line to the Chief Executive, as well as a professional reporting line to the statewide service to ensure consistency of approach.
- A simple fact sheet on reporting concerns about child safety has been created and is available on the Department’s internet page, further communication to support the rollout is planned to ensure it is available to all staff and patients.
- As confirmed previously the new position of Chief Executive Hospitals North will be ultimately responsible for the safety of children at the LGH (and at the other health service locations in the North). I note this is consistent with the final recommendations of the Panel.