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Nurse reprimanded for ‘professional misconduct’

The current Bacchus Marsh Memorial Hospital. Photo - Helen Tatchell

By Meg Kennedy

Although the former midwife linked to the deaths of three babies at Bacchus Marsh Hospital will never practise again, the pain is still raw for the families affected.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) announced in a statement on Friday 19 October that registered midwife Dianne Macrae, who was employed as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager (ANUM) at Djerriwarrh Health Services, was found to have “engaged in ten instances of professional misconduct under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.”
At a recent tribunal hearing Ms Macrae admitted to all allegations put forward by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), including an inadequate interpretation of a foetal cardiotocography (CTG), a failure to carry out a clinical assessment and care, and a failure to recognise and respond to an urgent situation.
The tribunal reprimanded Ms Macrae and accepted an undertaking from her that she would never apply for registration as a midwife again.
A former patient who lost her baby at 41.3 weeks at Bacchus Marsh Hospital was present at the hearing and told The Moorabool News she felt the atmosphere “was very tense, because we didn’t have a voice in that room”.
“What kicked me in the guts…the tribunal said to (McCrae)…that they could see that ‘you’re not the same person and that you’ve punished yourself, we don’t need to punish you anymore’ but it’s like, you took my baby away,” she said.
“I’ve got to live the rest of my life without my child…but (she) can move on with (her) life now, and that hurt. That was the bit that really hurt,” the woman tearfully said.
On what she would say to Djerriwarrh Health Services, the woman said, “it would be nice if they took into account what they were actually doing, because they knew.”
“They need to start taking accountability, and each case is an individual case,” she said.
AHPRA said the investigation “is one of a large number” regarding concerns about obstetric and midwifery care at the Djerriwarrh Health Services.
Djerriwarrh Health Services said in a statement to The Moorabool News “the organisation was not a party to a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hearing into the actions of a former practitioner at the hospital.”
“The cases in question dated from 2011 to 2013 and involve terrible experiences for some families at Bacchus Marsh and Melton Regional Hospital. Every person now at Djerriwarrh is driven to ensure such a situation can never arise again,” the statement read.
Investigations into the care provided by practitioners at Bacchus Marsh between the time of October 2011 to February 2013 began in February 2016.
APHRA said the reasons for the tribunal’s decision will be published at a future date.