Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive officer Adrian Pennington.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive officer Adrian Pennington. Paul Beutel

Hospital boss responds to story about surgeon

IN RESPONSE to your article (Nine more complaints about Bundy surgeon surface, NM, 25/07), I'd like to reassure your readers of the robust and open nature of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's safety and quality processes.

Providing great healthcare isn't just about employing great doctors and nurses, important as that is.

It's also about making sure we have solid systems in place to handle complaints and clinical incidents when they happen, as they inevitably will from time to time. It is, however, important to distinguish between complaints and clinical incidents.

In terms of complaints, we encourage patients and members of the public to give their honest feedback to our Clinical Governance Unit, which is charged with overseeing our safety and quality processes.

Our complaint acknowledgement and turnaround times are well within the Queensland Health target times, and in 2015-16 our compliments outweighed complaints by almost four to one.

For example, a recent complaint was from a patient who did not want to be transferred to Brisbane for a procedure that a surgeon here deemed to be too complex to be done in Bundaberg. While we aim to treat as many patients locally as possible, this decision was rightly made with patient safety in mind, yet it will still be recorded as a complaint.

LETTER: Doctor did a fantastic job

As an organisation, WBHHS encourages open reporting of incidents because it's crucial for us to learn from any mistakes and ensure they don't happen again - no matter how little or how much harm was caused, or at which stage of the clinical pathway they may have occurred.

Clinicians will inevitably have adverse events - it's the nature of the complex work we do. Incidents are investigated either by our own teams or independently, as appropriate.

The most important thing about clinical incident investigations are the recommendations and outcomes. These can include improvements to our processes, changes to our models of care, or disciplinary action if deemed appropriate.

As chief executive, I'm proud to say that we run a health service that is now among the highest performers in the state, and that values patient-centred care, openness and accountability.

The Bundaberg community today is getting better care, and greater access to high-quality care, than it has ever done. And I invite anyone to read our upcoming annual report to see our performance, because it's something all of us should be proud of.

ADRIAN PENNINGTON

chief executive officer

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service



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