25 deaths, 65 seriously harmed at East Metro Health Service hospitals

$11.8 million has been allocated in the State Budget to establish a mental health observation area plus unit at Royal Perth Hospital.
$11.8 million has been allocated in the State Budget to establish a mental health observation area plus unit at Royal Perth Hospital.

TWENTY-five patients died and 65 experienced serious harm in the last financial year at East Metro Health Service hospitals, according to the organisation’s first annual report.

The health service, formed July 2016, includes the Armadale Health Service, Kalamunda Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, Bentley Health Service and St John of God, Midland Public Hospital.

A total of 184 serious clinical incidents were reported for the financial year – with two yet to be investigated – but 49 were declassified because no healthcare factor contributed to the incident.

A 26.5 per cent jump in community mental health services was experienced, and Bentley’s troubled Adolescent Unit is waiting to relocate to the new Perth Children’s Hospital whose opening has been delayed until May 2018.

The 12-bed facility for children aged 12 to 16 years in Bentley attracted media attention in 2010 when psychiatrists said it was ‘like a prison’, and in 2016 when police were called because a group of patients threatened to harm staff and themselves.

In its place, Bentley will open an East Metropolitan Youth Unit under a new model of care that and East Metro Health spokeswoman said today was still being developed.

The new 12-bed inpatient youth mental health service will cater for patients aged 16 to 24 years, 24 hours a days, seven days a week, offering seven-day therapeutic programs.

Bentley Hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary in April, and Royal Perth continued to feel the strain of being Perth’s oldest hospital where $19.5 million was spent from the 2015/16 capital works budget for upgrades.

EMHS claims it inherited a significant elective surgery waitlist with about 10,000 people waiting for elective surgery.

Key initiatives to cope included an injection of Department of Health funding aimed at reducing the plastic surgery waitlists by 276 cases.

To counter a decline in performance in 2016, EMHS established a Winter Flow Collaborative Committee for the winter season in 2017 with members from its hospitals, St John Ambulance and WA Primary Health Alliance.

The report said the financial year was challenging but ultimately successful with an opening deficit of $1.372 million turned into a surplus of $50.304 million.

THE NUMBERS:

The total cost of EMHS providing health services was $1.4 billion.

There were more than 135,000 patients admitted to its hospitals

About 190,000 were seen in EDs.

Another 480,000 patients were seen in an outpatient clinic or setting.

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