Page 5814 - Week 15 - Thursday, 10 December 2009

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Canberra Hospital—tuberculosis exposure
(Question No 444)

Mr Hanson asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 19 November 2009:

(1) In relation to the exposure of a number of people to tuberculosis at The Canberra Hospital (TCH) in late August and early September 2009 and the visiting and room sharing policies, what is the policy in relation to sharing rooms and wards in the post-natal unit at TCH.

(2) Is this policy a public document; if so, where can members of the public access it; if the policy is not a public document and cannot be accessed by the public, why not.

(3) Was the visit and/or room sharing policy breached at any time throughout the duration of the exposure period.

(4) In relation to part (3), what investigations have occurred to determine whether there were any breaches of the visits and shared room policy and what action will be taken as a result of these investigations.

(5) Will ACT Health review the visits and shared room policy as a result of the confusion surrounding the policy; if not, why not.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Canberra Hospital Maternity Practice Guidelines contain the Guideline “Overnight stay for a Support Person” that states Women who request a support person to stay overnight to provide them with extra support or to help care for their baby, will be allocated a single room in the ward if available. Women who require support for other reasons such as still birth or neonatal death may have a support person present”.

Flexibility is required based on circumstances. An individual assessment is made at the time as to whether a support person can stay overnight depending on the circumstances and the needs of the family and the policy is flexible to enable this.

(2) The Practice Guideline itself is available on request, but is not on the ACT Health website. The Canberra Hospital website provides information about the Postnatal Ward that states Partners or a support person are encouraged to provide assistance and support. You may be able to stay overnight in consultation with your midwife.

A copy of the Practice Guidelines was tabled on Wednesday 18 November 2009 following Question Time in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

(3) No.

(4) An investigation has been carried out which found that “Overnight Stay for a Support Person” Guideline was not breached. No further action will be taken.

(5) Based on a consideration of the circumstances of this case and the compliance with policy, there is no need to review the policy at this time.

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