Revealed: Canberra Hospital Surgery Patients at ‘Significant Risk’

Documents seen by the ACT Opposition about the tragic death of grandmother and surgery patient Lima Thatcher show the compliance failures that may have contributed to her death are happening to almost half of the surgery patients at the Canberra Hospital.

ACT Shadow Health Minister Jeremy Hanson said today that an internal audit of the Canberra Hospital’s compliance with the Surgical Safety Checklist has identified appalling levels of non-compliance that has put approximately 50 per cent of surgical patients at ‘significant risk.’

“Following audits that found only 52 percent of surgical safety checklists were completed, the Executive Director of the Quality and Safety Unit at the Hospital warned that ‘this is a significant risk for surgical patients and the organisation,’” Mr Hanson said today.

“These audits have only been revealed as a result of court action taken by Lima Thatcher’s granddaughters.

“Grandmother Lima Thatcher, who died following an operation on her wrong hip in 2011 is the tragic face of how important the Surgical Safety Checklist is. Nothing will bring Lima Thatcher back but we need to do everything we can to ensure that patients operated on at the hospital are not put at similar risk.

“Katy Gallagher has been hiding the appalling non-compliance with surgical processes that has put patients at risk.

“The shocking revelation that almost half of all surgery patients operated on at Canberra Hospital are being put at ‘significant risk’ is yet another compelling reason the Assembly should support today’s no confidence motion,” Mr Hanson concluded.