July 3, 2022
Jeremy Rockliff, Prime Minister
Kathrine Morgan-Wicks, Secretary of the Department of Health,
The evidence provided to the Commission of Inquiry last week in relation to Launceston General Hospital was very harrowing and, although we look forward to the Commission’s recommendations next year, we will not wait to take action. where it is clear that they are needed. .
It is essential that there is a culture of responsible leadership in our hospitals.
Following discussions with the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Federation of Nurses and Midwives, the Government of Tasmania will immediately establish a review of LGH child safety governance and human resources, with a focus on dealing with serious misconduct such as sexual abuse of children in institutions.
The Child Safety Governance Review will be personally led by the Secretary of the Department of Health and will be informed by a Governance Advisory Committee established under Section 13 of the Tasmania Health Services Act 2018.
The panel will be made up of independent experts in childhood trauma, governance and hospital administration. Unions and LGH staff will be invited to participate as members to make recommendations, from a child protection perspective, on:
- organizational structure;
- management and leadership, including role, responsibilities and accountabilities;
- mandatory training in responsible leadership and management;
- mandatory training, including mandatory notifications and how to recognize grooming behaviors;
- policies, procedures and protocols, including quality and safety frameworks.
We anticipate this will result in significant changes in leadership roles.
The governance review will be linked to system improvements already underway, including the One Health Cultural Enhancement Program which emphasizes values and behaviors in the workplace, child safety organization which will integrate Tasmanian Health Services child protection practices across the state.
As part of discussions with victim-survivors, the secretary has committed to ensuring that victim-survivors are part of an expert reference group that will provide guidance to the expert panel on safety and previously announced child welfare.
The Child Safety Governance Review Committee is expected to be established this week. The Governance Review is expected to report its recommendations to the Secretary by November 2022.
The terms of reference are available here: www.health.tas.gov.au/news/news/child-safe-governance-review
To ensure that staff have confidence in reporting any issues relating to child sexual abuse and to allow for greater oversight, a Complaints Management Unit will be established within the office of the Secretary of the Department of Health, meaning concerns do not need to be reported to immediate supervisors. or local management. This new unit is expected to be operational in the coming weeks.
Additional senior staff will also be based at LGH this week to support staff. Staff will also be encouraged and supported to access wellness measures through the Employee Assistance Program, if needed.
Tasmania Premier Jeremy Rockliff said: ‘We knew the evidence before the Inquiry would stand and there would be serious lessons to learn.
“There is nothing more important than keeping children safe, which is why we are listening and acting now to ensure that the wrongs of the past are not repeated. It is also important that parents can have confidence in the safety of our health services.”
We also remain committed to accepting and implementing the recommendations made next year by the Secretary of the Department of Health Inquiry, Kathrine Morgan-Wicks, said: “We recognize that health professionals of our hospitals want to work in an exemplary organization and we recognize their confidence in our systems and processes has been seriously shaken.
“It is so important that the voices of victim-survivors are equally heard and lessons learned so that we can make the future a safer place for children and young people in Tasmania.
“Having this governance review in place shows that we are committed to driving change and improvement at all levels of our health services.”
For anyone affected, remember that support is available. If you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to contact the following organisations:
- Lifeline (24 hours) 131 114;
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636;
- Service for victims of crime 1300 300 238;
- Sexual Assault Support Service (24 hours) 1800 697 877;
- Laurel House North Tasmania (03) 6334 2740;
- Laurel House North West Tasmania (03) 6431 9711;
- Blue Knot Foundation 1300 657 380;
- Child Abuse Prevention Services 1800 688 009;
- Strong Families, Safe Children 1,800,000 123;
- 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732;
- Suicide Reminder Service 1300 659 467;
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978; Where
Australia Tasmania Relations 1300 364 277.