The terrible news that as many as seven babies may have died as a result of failings at Bacchus Marsh and Melton Regional Hospital is both distressing and shocking.
For families, who have already endured the unbearable loss of a child, today’s news can only compound their grief.
While it is a very sad fact of life that complications can occur when a child is born, what is clear here is that many of these deaths could, and should have been avoided.
As the local member for this hospital, and the families who rely on its services, I’d like to thank Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy for her open, honest and tough response to this tragedy.
The minister has my full support for her decision to replace the entire board of Djerriwarrh Health Service and introduce the governance and leadership that the people who rely on Bacchus March and Melton Regional Hospital deserve.
The introduction of a new foetal monitoring system at the health service, improved and ongoing training, and support from the Royal Women’s Hospital should ensure this terrible tragedy is never repeated.
I’m particularly pleased the minister is requiring all hospitals in Victoria that provide maternity services also undertake this training.
If any changes are required in the federal regulatory system to ensure there is no repeat of the tragedy, these too would have my full support.
Nothing we say or do now can ever make up for the grief and loss suffered by the families affected by this tragedy.
But we owe it to those families, and every other family relying on the maternity services at our hospitals to do all we can to ensure such terrible errors are never repeated.
And we must now do all we can to support these families they deal with the added grief and distress caused to them by today’s shocking news.