Independent inquiry a necessary step forward

The Opposition has welcomed the announcement of an independent external review into the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency department following the tragic death of Aishwarya Aswath.
The external review was one of the recommendations made in the internal inquiry released today following Aishwarya’s death in April this year.
“Nothing will take away from the fact that a 7-year-old girl died in our flagship children’s hospital while waiting more than two hours for care,” Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said.
“The fact that the Health Minister has acknowledged the family should have received better care and apologised for the heartbreak Aishwarya’s death has caused her family and the community must be followed up with urgent improvements to a health system that is in crisis.
“The report made some damning findings in relation to under-resourcing of staff, lack of vital equipment and a failure of processes on the night Aishwarya died.
“It was distressing to read that the non-escalation of clinical care may have been a major contributing factor on the night, while it is also deeply concerning that senior clinicians have been raising concerns about patient safety since October 2020, something both the ANF and AMA have flagged previously.
“It is abundantly clear that our health system is in crisis.
“Our focus now is to ensure that the scope of this independent review not only looks at the emergency department as a whole, but also specifically investigates Aishwarya’s death and the 20 other SAC-1 incidents at the hospital in the past 15 months.
“We will also continue to advocate for better resourcing to ensure our hospitals are properly staffed and have access to the necessary equipment so that no other family has to endure the grief and heartache of losing a child in these circumstances.”