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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 592 ..

MS GALLAGHER: The advice provided to me by my department a number of times, between probably early December and last Wednesday, was that there had been no complaints. I was acting on that advice. People have brought forward, and indeed Dr Gallagher brought to my attention on Monday, when I met with her, that she felt she had brought complaints to management’s attention, and those issues will be thoroughly examined.

Child deaths

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, it is my understanding that in 2008 the ACT government committed to the exploration of child death review processes to be established in the ACT. Can you advise where this process is up to?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for her question. I am aware that there was a child death review team. It is something that my department has looked at and on which it has had early discussions with me. I understand that, in January last year, there was a memorandum of understanding signed between ACT Health and the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services to look at a joint approach to the investigation of adverse events that involved both agencies. This will relate to where a child or a young person has been involved in a significant incident.

I understand it will be conducted under auspices of the health clinical audit committee, a quality committee approved by the ACT health minister, which operates under protective qualified privilege. There have been reports providing recommendations relating to a system improvement from a joint and individual agency perspective. To date, one joint review has been completed. That followed a formal endorsement by a clinical audit council executive and chief executives. Recommendations will be actioned, again through a joint process across agencies, as well as at an individual agency level.

I understand that a second joint review process is currently underway and a third review is planned to commence in 2010. We also conduct individual internal reviews. Our department engages with external experts, as appropriate, to do a case-by-case practice. At the moment we are continuing to explore a joint process and engage experts on a case-by-case basis, as we need to.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, do you continue to be committed to the establishment of a child death review team?

MS BURCH: I am committed to ensuring that any review, any incidence of injury, harm or death of a child needs to be explored and investigated to determine what are the system learnings that we need to gain from that. At the moment ACT Health and DHCS are working through joint review processes, and I support that until I am advised that that is not satisfactory.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

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