Health Minister needs to release reviews into PCH rape incident as a priority to ensure patient safety

The Cook Labor Government needs to stop drip feeding information and publicly release the reviews into the alleged rape at Perth Children’s Hospital today as a matter of priority, according to Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam.

“It’s been almost two years since this truly despicable and unfathomable act took place in our flagship children’s hospital and yet this brave family is still waiting for basic details about what happened,” Ms Mettam said.

“It’s absolutely unconscionable that the Cook Labor Government hasn’t provided those answers to not only the family but to the broader public and we need to see those reviews, with the obvious private details redacted, released immediately.

“Further, following the initial release of those distressing details yesterday, it appears that the government has now gone to ground refusing to answer the many unfolding questions today.

“Western Australians expect and deserve to know that if they take their children to the Perth Children’s Hospital they will be safe.

“I believe both the Chief Psychiatrist and Child and Adolescent Health Service have conducted reviews into this shocking incident but we are none the wiser as to the details and what the response has been.

“The way this has been handled has decimated the trust and confidence of not only the family but the public and both have every right to know how this happened and what has been done to ensure it never happens again.”

Ms Mettam questioned why all the recommendations of the review as flagged yesterday had not yet been implemented and what safety measures had been undertaken so far.

“Previous reports had already highlighted serious concerns within this ward around staffing, sexual assault risks and the need for gendered wards raising the question of what has been done?

“The Minister has also stated there was adequate staffing on the night of the incident but couldn’t provide exact staffing numbers, whether they were junior or senior members or what the patient to staff ratio was.

“Almost two years after the incident and she either doesn’t know or is refusing to provide some very basic but important details given the implications for those nurses on duty that night.

“It reeks of a cover-up and it’s absolutely appalling that another family has been let down by not only failings within the health system but by a shockingly inadequate response from the government.

“Yet again, the government has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to provide any kind of transparency or accountability and if it wasn’t for this family speaking out publicly, we may never know.”

Ms Mettam said the government’s sub-standard response also raised many other concerns and questions about other safety incidents within the hospital.

“How many other sexual breaches have there been and how many have occurred since this incident that could have been prevented if adequate safety measures were prioritised?

“I implore the Health Minister to provide open and full transparency and accountability. We cannot have a health system where families are worried about leaving their children in our State’s flagship children’s hospital.”