A ministerial inquiry into obstetric and gynaecological services at King Edward Memorial Hospital was commenced in April 2000 following a review that raised concerns about patient safety at the hospital.
The Inquiry, chaired by Mr Neil Douglas QC, was called to investigate these issues of clinical and administrative concern that may have led to adverse patient outcomes at KEMH over the period 1990 to 2000. A full report was delivered to the Premier and Minister for Health in November 2001. A modified version that removed some sections of the Report to protect patient confidentiality was tabled in the WA Parliament and made available to the public in December 2001. The Report contains 237 recommendations. There are five volumes to the Report which is available to the public. The Report in hard copy and CD format is also available for purchase from the State Law Publisher.
In January 2002, the Director General of Health established an Implementation Group to oversee the implementation of the recommendations arising from the Report. The Implementation Group comprised 14 members including Professor Jeffery Robinson, a member of the KEMH Inquiry, specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives , and representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Health Consumers' Council. Between January 2002 and June 2003, the Implementation Group met regularly to review and make decisions on changes required at KEMH to comply with the Inquiry's recommendations.
The former Minister for Health, the Hon Bob Kucera MLA, announced that the Implementation Group had completed its work and presented his final report to Parliament on 18 June 2003.
In October 2003, the Women's and Children's Health Service WCHS Douglas Inquiry Audit Committee was established to monitor compliance with recommendations identified as requiring ongoing review. Due to WCHS disbandment in July 2006, the committee became the KEMH Douglas Inquiry Audit Committee. Membership of this committee includes Executive Directors, specialist obstetric, gynaecology, neonatal and anaesthetist clinicians and midwives, a Biostatistician and a community representative.
Although the Douglas Inquiry report contained 237 Recommendations, the outcome was that Women's and Children's Hospital was responsible for implementing only 230. This is because: four required legislative changes and will be progressed by the Department of Health; one Recommendation applied to cases referred to the Medical Board for action; one was subsumed into Recommendation 31 of the Health Reform Committee Report and one was a lead in to a series of Recommendations concerning Quality Improvement, rather than being a Recommendation itself.
Thus, 230 Recommendations in total have been implemented with satisfactory compliance. A complete list of the Inquiry's recommendations is available.