Health and Community Services Complaints Commission Report on Investigation of Royal Darwin Hospital Security Arrangements for the protection of Children and Infants Paediatric Ward 5B Volume 1
Tabled paper 163
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54. HCSCC Comment: The above policies do not address the question asked. Security procedures are not limited to Patients Absconding or who leave the hospital of their own will. Many children are not capable of absconding or walking out (eg infants). Further, the question asked relates to how staff are informed of security procedures including opposite genders sharing a room. The response indicates either a lack of understanding of the question, evasiveness, or a careless disregard of the obligation of a health service provider to respond to the HCSCC. The Ward 5B CNC during interview stated she wasnt aware that there were security policies applicable to her ward and her view was that children of opposite genders should not share a room. (NOTE: The issue of room sharing is not applicable to infants). HCSCC Q18: What procedures are in place on Ward 5B for finding a missing child? RDH response: Staff are to follow the following Policy and guidelines: - Patients who leave hospital without official discharge (take own leave) policy. - Guidelines for the management of Patients who leave hospital without official discharge. - Discharge of patients who leave hospital without official discharge Absconding. Attachment 1524. HCSCC Comment: Patients who leave hospital without official discharge (take own leave approved by Acute Care 05.06.2006 and Effective 13.06.2006) does not cover what procedures are in place on Ward 5B to find a missing child. Further the date of approval and effectiveness is three months after the infant assault. Discharge of patients who leave hospital without official discharge/patient absconding (issued April 1992 and last updated on the 17.10.2000) appears to be more applicable to adult persons. The guidelines for the management of patients who leave hospital without official discharge (Approved by Acute Care executive 05.06.2006, effective 13.06.2006 and review date June 2007) is the most applicable to the question asked. These documents again raise the question of reviewing content. No evidence has been provided that reviews have occurred within a suitable period. Further some patients in Ward 5B are infants and are incapable of leaving/absconding/discharging themselves. There is a need for a procedure to be developed for finding a child who is incapable of leaving of their own accord or has been abducted. Of concern is the response provided by Mr Phil Bates (DHCS Security Manager based at RDH) in June 2008. Mr Bates stated that the Security Office is not always immediately informed when a person goes missing from a ward. He provided an example of a patient who went missing at 24 Volume 2.