Friday, 5 December 2008

Garling Report

Adverse publicity ensured the shortcomings of the NSW Health System were spotlighted and it was widely recognised that acute care services were in crisis. On the 29th January 2008, the NSW Governor appointed Mr Peter Garling SC to inquire into and report upon matters falling within the Terms of Reference (link available below).

On the 27th November, 2008, the Final Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry Acute Care Services in NSW Public Hospitals Overview was presented to the NSW Government and released to the public.

The report is available here:$file/E_Overview.pdf

The report makes sobering and fascinating reading as Mr Garling highlights the troubled aspects of our health care system. Garling is impressed by the skill, dedication and competence of health care service staff but notes that many things need to change so that staff can work more effectively. Of particular importance, Garling notes:

"Furthermore, the rigid demarcation between what a doctor’s job is, and what a nurse’s job is, needs to be consigned to history. Once the concept of teamwork is accepted as the norm in treating a patient, it is easier to see why a qualified nurse practitioner should be able to do many jobs once reserved for doctors".

This is a very positive comment and fits with the thesis of my research into midwives and doctors interactions in the care of birthing women. I know Garling only mentions nursing staff in this statement, but it is equally applicable to maternity care issues, if not even more so, given that childbirth is, above all else, a healthy process suffering from iatrogenic outcomes.

You can access the terms of reference here:

Terms of reference

The Garling Report is available for comment and the link to the comment pages is here:

Feedback on Garling Report

Please have your say and make the point that maternity services need to be focussed on what keeps women and babies safe. Women and babies are safer when the services which are being provided are women centered, that is respectful of and listening to women's concerns, questions,ideas and choices and ensuring that women's choices are implemented. It is also about ensuring that the profession that is expert in working with women to keep birth normal, that is midwives, are primary care givers.

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