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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



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

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9. (2) For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the powers of direction of a Board do not include powers to give directions for or in relation to (a) the recruitment, management and discipline of staff; or (b) the financial management of the hospital. (3) The Manager of a hospital shall consider any advice and comply with any directions given to him under subsection (1). The RDH Management Board SHALL furnish to the Minister, not later than 30 September in each year a report on its operations and the operations of the RDH. The Minister must table the report within 10 sitting days of the Legislative Assembly after it has been so furnished. It is the responsibility of the General Manager of RDH to ensure that a person is available to carry out secretarial services for the Board. A notice to provide information and documents was served on the General Manager of RDH on 14 January 2007. It specifically required him to produce to the HCSCC: Any copy of all materials, reports and minutes of the Board of Management relating to the sexual assault within the Paediatric Ward 31st March 2006. No document, agenda, minutes or report from or to the Management Board was produced. This can only mean that the incident of the rape of a five month old child was not considered important enough by the General Manager to report it to the Management Board. It is the function of the Management Board under legislation to give directions to the General Manager except on financial management and recruitment management and discipline of staff. If the General Manager controls the flow of information to the Management Board there is insufficient accountability of the General Manager and the intention of the Legislative Assembly in enacting the Hospital Management Boards Act can be subverted. In drawing this conclusion I am applying a presumption of innocence to the General Manager because if there was a written report or entry on an agenda of the Management Board Meeting he would have produced it or else committed an offence. If there was an oral report or discussion it would have appeared in the Boards minutes. If there were no minutes taken or kept then the General Manager has breached Section 20 of the Hospital Management Boards Act. I have drawn therefore an inference most favourable to the General Manager. I subsequently asked the Government Printing Office to provide me with all the notices in the Government Gazette appointing members of the Royal Darwin Hospital Management Board. I was informed that only one appointment had been in the Gazette between 25 November 2002 and November 2008. That one appointment was of two members for the period from 7 March to 31 December 2007. As three years is the maximum term of appointment that was puzzling. Enquiries were made of the Department of the Legislative Assembly about any Annual Reports tabled by the Minister as required by Section 25 of the Hospital Management Boards Act. No Annual Report of the RDH Management Board has been tabled since the report for the period ending 30 June 2006.