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Townsville Mater welcomes probe

The board of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Townsville has welcomed an independent enquiry into its cardiac unit after revelations that the death rate for heart valve surgery at the hospital was almost four times the Queensland state average.

Last Sunday, the cover story of Channel 9's Sunday program - titled 'A Hospital's Secret' - two years ago, claimed that statistics on the death rate for one type of heart surgery - four times higher than average - were "hidden" from patients and the families whose loved ones died.

The Catholic Leader reports that Board chairman Bob Jones said on Monday that the Mater has nothing to hide.

The findings were the result of a Queensland Health audit and covered the 1999-2000 period.

But the state's chief health officer, Professor Bryan Campbell said higher risk patients had caused a statistical blip in the Mater's mortality rate.

"The Mater has spent more than $10 million on cardiac facilities since 1993 to make it a state-of-the-art hospital," Mr Jones said.

He said the raw data in the initial report could be misinterpreted by anyone without a proper medical background.

"The people of north Queensland trust this hospital and we'll continue to work hard and maintain that trust."

A Hospital's Secret (cover story, Channel 9 Sunday program)
Mater Misericordiae Hospital Townsville

Catholic Leader

19 Apr 2002