Complaints mount as Caboolture Hospital inquiry scope remains unchanged

© AAP An inquiry into surgeries at Caboolture Hospital is currently under way.

An inquiry into Caboolture Hospital will “consider all calls seriously”, according to Queensland Health, but it has not changed its terms of reference that restrict investigations to cases in 2020 or later.

On Monday night, Queensland Health said it would “consider any cases brought to its attention concerning patient care at Caboolture Hospital” but it has not allowed the inquiry to consider historical cases.

It issued a statement that read: “All feedback, from any timeframe, is reviewed and taken seriously and those with concerns are encouraged to call the hotline.”

Earlier, Caboolture Hospital patient Olivia Keating told how she had been left with a “football of organs” outside her body after 11 operations when a caesarean went wrong in 2018.

Ms Keating’s case cannot be included in the inquiry because her Caboolture Hospital experience began in 2018.

“I want to ask Queensland Health, ‘What are you afraid of?’ ” Ms Keating said.

“Are you afraid there are more people like me? Because I am not the only one.”

The Caboolture Hospital inquiry terms of reference require it to “examine hospital acquired complications including surgical infection rates and other surgical outcome data collected by the hospital of patients who have undergone surgery at Caboolture Hospital from 2020 to present”.

Instead, Queensland Health encouraged affected patients to call the Caboolture Hospital hotline on 07 3647 9559, or to seek a review of their situation through the Office of the Health Ombudsman.

Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli repeated his calls for the terms of reference to begin before 2020.

“At the heart of it, we would like to see a wider scope, so it is just not one year,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“In the case of Olivia, who revealed one of the most daunting stories, she is not even covered by this,” he said.

“That is really disappointing.

“I would have liked to have seen a truly independent person brought in [to oversee the inquiry]. This is effectively Queensland Health, judging Queensland Health.”

The Health Ombudsman declined to comment on issues at Caboolture Hospital, but said it was aware of issues that had been raised in the media.

“The Office of Health Ombudsman is unable to comment on any specific complaints or notifications that it may have received that relates the Caboolture Hospital,” the office reported.

“However, the OHO is monitoring the situation and will consider the review initiated by the Metro North Hospital and Health Service once it is finalised.”

The federal government body that oversees surgical standards at all Australian hospitals, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, said it was not investigating issues at the hospital.

Queensland Health plans to issue findings on the inquiry by late October.

By Tuesday, Queensland Health had received 75 phone calls to its inquiry hotline.

South Australian surgeon Jim Sweeney, a past senior examiner in general surgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, is leading the inquiry.

On Monday, high-profile former Bundaberg Hospital patient Beryl Crosby called for Queensland Health to widen the inquiry into possible botched surgeries before 2020.

Ms Crosby in 2005 helped expose the health record of disgraced Bundaberg Hospital head of surgery Dr Jayant Patel.

She encouraged patients, nurses and doctors to come forward to provide information to the Caboolture Hospital inquiry.

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