Grieving mum’s maternity care improvements adopted

Laine Clark |

Shannon Fentiman has praised a grieving mother for raising concerns over hospital maternity care.
Shannon Fentiman has praised a grieving mother for raising concerns over hospital maternity care.

Maternity care improvements suggested by a grieving mother will be introduced immediately in Queensland.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman met with Meg and James Flaskett on Tuesday after they had raised concerns about their baby girl’s death at Redcliffe hospital north of Brisbane in September.

“Their grief is heartbreaking,” Ms Fentiman told parliament on Wednesday.

A clinical review is underway following allegations by the distraught parents that hospital staff did not take their concerns seriously before their baby daughter Thea died hours after being born.

They also claimed there were inexperienced staff and malfunctioning equipment at the hospital.

Ms Fentiman said besides the review, she would also introduce immediate maternity care changes after speaking with the parents as well as Thea’s grandmother Sally.

“I want to commend Meg for her incredible bravery and conviction in bringing to my attention some common sense improvements that Meg believes can be made in the delivery of maternity care in Queensland,” she said.

“We will progress a number of Meg’s suggestions immediately.”

They include increasing training in advanced neonatal resuscitation for all clinicians in birthing suites and nurseries and providing clearer advice on risks and options of induction medications for women.

Another change will include expanding post-natal support for women who experience still birth or neonatal death including home visits and fast tracking grief and psychological counselling.

“These are simple changes but they will make an enormous difference for so many families,” Ms Fentiman said.

“I will continue to work with them to ensure our health system is providing the very best care to women and their babies.”

The clinical review’s findings are due to be handed down on December 21.

It comes after the health minister held crisis talks with emergency department bosses last week, following the death of two people in as many days.

Wayne Irving, 67, died following a three-hour wait in an ambulance outside Ipswich hospital, west of Brisbane.

The next day Cath Groom was found dead in her Brisbane home by family on what would have been her 52nd birthday, after paramedics failed to arrive the previous evening.

After the crisis talks, Ms Fentiman announced an initial $20 million investment for a plan to provide more support.

It includes hiring more triage nurses, improving after hours medical imaging access and appointing a “medical commander” to help manage patient flow at each state hospital.