A former Bacchus Marsh midwife has been banned from practicing for 10 years after investigations into a cluster of potentially preventable baby deaths at Bacchus Marsh Hospital.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mary Little had failed in her delivery of care and oversight in her position as Nurse Unit Manager - Maternity Services, between September 2008 and May 2014.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia referred the case to VCAT, who made 11 findings of professional misconduct against Ms Little.
The NMBA allegations included: lack of competence in foetal surveillance and lack of recognition of and response to incompetence in others including the Assistant Nurse Unit Manager; inadequate direct clinical care of two patients; inadequate clinical review of eight adverse outcomes between 2008 and 2014, inadequate open disclosure about adverse outcomes in 16 cases between 2008 and 2014; and documentation failures.
Reviews in to the cluster of baby deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Service's Bacchus March Hospital identified at least 11 stillbirth and neonatal deaths that could have been avoided.
The finding against Ms Little was the latest action against staff at the hospital since February 2016 when the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority and NMBA launched investigations in to 101 matters about care provided from October 2011 and February 2013.
The 101 matters involved 43 registered health practitioners.
Over the course of the investigation, 21 practitioners had matters that were able to be closed without the need for regulatory action including those who surrendered their registration or had undertaken further education or training to address gaps in skills or knowledge.
In cases where further action was taken, six practitioners were cautioned, six had conditions imposed on their registration and 10 were referred to a panel hearing or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
"Women place their trust in midwives to provide safe care for them and their babies. This is a case of that trust being broken, with tragic consequences," said NMBA chair Associate Professor Lynette Cusack.
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"We urge all midwives and nurses to understand their professional responsibility at all levels to provide leadership to ensure the delivery of safe and quality care. As leaders, they must also ensure employees comply with their obligations to provide safe and quality care."
Ms Little admitted all allegations and acknowledged they constituted professional misconduct.
She was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 10 years, but surrendered her registration in March 2016 and has not practiced since.
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