An experienced hand at the helm

Peter Garling, SC, has been appointed as Commissioner to run the inquiry into the NSW public health system.

He is an experienced lawyer who has been previously involved in a number of commissions and public inquiries. These include those into the bushfires in 1996, the collapse of the HIH Insurance Group and the Thredbo landslide.

His terms of reference for the inquiry include:

  • to look at any systemic or institutional issues in the delivery of acute care services in NSW public hospitals;
  • to identify existing models of patient care used in the delivery of acute care services in NSW public hospitals. In particular, to look at case management including supervision of junior clinical staff, clinical note-taking and record-keeping, and communication between health professionals involved in the care of a patient;
  • to recommend any changes that should be made to the existing models of patient care to improve the quality and safety of patient care in NSW public hospitals;
  • to recommend any changes NSW Health should make to ensure its workforce policies and practices support improved models of patient care.

The commission is to look at broad, systemic problems with the health system. Any individual patient complaints identified in the course of the inquiry are to be referred to the Health Care Complaints Commission.