Health shake-up welcome, but patients must come before bureaucracy

14 October 2016
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have today welcomed an overhaul of the Victorian health system but said it remained critical that all solutions for delivering better outcomes remained focussed on justice for victims, survivors and their families.

Maurice Blackburn Head of Medical Negligence Kathryn Booth said what had happened at Bacchus Marsh Hospital was unspeakable and preventable, with the scale of the tragedy the worst the firm had encountered.

“These events were a wake-up call for our State’s health system,” Ms Booth said.

“Bureaucracy played a key role in these events, and it is critical that the solutions focus on justice for victims, survivors and their families, and not bureaucracy.

“These cases exposed significant safety and quality issues that have put patients at risk over many years – events that have cost our system millions of dollars and the confidence of the patients who rely on it. No amount can ever be put on the human costs of these events.

“We welcome that such a fulsome review has now been done by the Andrews Government to look at the true extent of these problems and to map out a way forward.

“Many of the recommendations announced today are a good first step, including the introduction of a watchdog with greater scrutiny.

“We do however have a number of concerns about any proposal for a no-fault scheme.

“A no-fault scheme is more bureaucracy, not less - a scheme that will be asking all Victorians to pay for the mistakes that doctors have made.

“There are better and more effective ways to drive open disclosure, and our hope from today is that this shake-up can lead to a road map for a safer system that has clear high standards and that also gets the culture right for whistle blowers to prevent future incidents.

“What happened at Bacchus Marsh must never occur again and today is a key first step in achieving this – patients expect and deserve much better,” she said.

Practice Areas: