Statement in response to external review

Wednesday 21 October 2020

In June 2020, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne commissioned an independent, external review of the experiences of two patients outside our Emergency Department on 31 May.

The review was commissioned to understand the facts related to the incident and to recommend any improvements needed to ensure St Vincent’s continues to provide excellent and compassionate care to every one of its patients.

An external investigator was appointment to lead the review, along with a panel of experts which consisted of a representative from the Aboriginal community, an Emergency Department physician, a clinical specialist nurse, and a Mission specialist.

Through the review, the Investigator found that while the patients involved in this incident were treated with an appropriate standard of clinical care during their admission, more was required of St Vincent’s to make sure the patient at the centre of the incident received care consistent with the organisation’s Mission and Values at her discharge.

Further to this, the Investigator found that aspects of the care provided, and other interactions, would have benefited from increased cultural awareness among St Vincent’s staff.

The Investigator also acknowledged the genuine care and concern St Vincent's staff have for their patients and their dedication to their care, often in very difficult and challenging circumstances.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has accepted the recommendations of the external review in full and has begun their implementation consistent with its commitment to continuous improvement.

Friday 12 June 2020

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne management became aware of an incident concerning the experiences of two patients at our hospital on 31 May. Parts of the incident, which contained allegations of inadequate care, were captured on video and subsequently published to Facebook.

Having undertaken a preliminary internal investigation, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has decided to commission an independent external review to ensure it continues to uphold its mission to provide high standards of safe and compassionate care.

Moving to an external review is a standard part of the Hospital’s critical incident management procedures, and aligns with its commitment to continuous improvement.

The external review will be led by a panel of independent experts, and will include representation from the Aboriginal community. Both the panel and its scope will be finalised in the coming days, with a view to completing the investigation as a matter of priority.

Issues like this are of deep concern to St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and it’s important for everyone concerned that we understand what happened and respond appropriately.

Saturday 6 June 2020

On Thursday 4 June, St Vincent’s Hospital’s management became aware of a Facebook post shared by an inpatient at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

This post contained footage of another patient in front of our Emergency Department and contained allegations of inadequate care.

We immediately launched an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the content of this footage.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne apologises to the patients involved. We are deeply concerned at the video content and we are committed to discovering what occurred.

We have contacted the patient in the video as well as the patient who took the footage to check on their welfare.

At St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, we exist to care for our vulnerable communities – it is embedded into our mission.

Cultural awareness training around the unique health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is core to the clinical training program for all staff members at St Vincent’s. We remain dedicated to improving our education and development programs.

Following this incident, we are committed to not only understanding the background of what occurred, but how we can improve our care so this does not happen again.