Letter to Canberra families: Centenary Hospital is safe

Released 04/05/2018

In response to recent media reports, it is important for us to assure Canberra families that the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children is a safe and modern facility that provides quality care to our patients.

Our team of dedicated, hardworking and passionate doctors, nurses and midwives come to work every day to care for families during one of the most significant times in their lives. They deliver safe and effective birthing services in a compassionate and supportive way.

Canberra is a growing city, with more and more babies born every year. We know Centenary is incredibly popular with increasing numbers of families choosing to birth here. Centenary consumer feedback is very positive, with the patient experience discharge survey from the past year showing that 93% of our mothers were satisfied with the service they received.

That’s why in coming months, the ACT Government will announce a plan to update the way maternity services are delivered in the ACT. This new approach will be territory-wide, to better manage the demand between Calvary Public and Centenary hospitals, so both facilities share the delivery of maternity services.

In the meantime, we want to encourage more women to choose Calvary, which is why the Government has invested $2.6 million in a refurbishment of the maternity ward. The updates at Calvary, expected to be completed in July, will make it a more modern and comfortable place to birth on the northside.

It is unfortunate that some claims regarding care at the Centenary Hospital have been misleading and it’s important that we set the record straight to the Canberra community.

Although we acknowledge recruitment of midwives is an ongoing challenge, it is not true that we over rostered to create the illusion of appropriate staffing levels during our recent accreditation process. Rostering at Centenary has improved with the recruitment of 15 new staff as part of our graduate midwifery program, a 50 per cent increase from last year’s intake. In terms of medical staff, Centenary has been able to attract high quality senior and junior doctors from all over Australia and overseas over the last 3 years.

We also want to assure our patients that we don’t use faulty equipment and our staff are highly trained. Centenary is a modern facility and is maintained to a high standard. Our Neonatal Unit won the Quality in Healthcare award two years in a row, as well as an award at the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference for their presentation on lactation support. Centenary education packages are being used by other hospitals as an example of good practice, and our rate of readmissions of neonates for weight loss is low and has been improving over the last 3 years.

We also want to be clear that women and babies are not sent home until they are well. After being discharged, women receive midwifery support through the Midcall Domiciliary Midwifery Program and our Maternal and Child Health services to ensure newborns are developing as expected.

Finally, as with all of our staff at Centenary, we know that the people who wrote a letter of concern about the hospital, are also equally caring and want the best for the Canberra community. We are working with all of our staff to ensure that the concerns raised are taken on board.

For the families who are having their babies at the hospital today, tomorrow and into the future, we look forward to caring for you at such a special time in your lives.

Attributable to Ms Elizabeth Chatham, Executive Director of Women, Youth and Children at Canberra Hospital and Health Services.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

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