Department of Health to investigate Launceston hospital deaths

Tasmania's Department of Health will investigate claims linked to Launceston General Hospital.

Tasmania's Department of Health will investigate claims linked to Launceston General Hospital. Photo: AAP

Tasmania’s health department is investigating claims a former top doctor at a state hospital falsified certificates and did not report deaths to the coroner as required.

The allegations were aired during a parliamentary inquiry into ambulance ramping and on Wednesday the state’s health department responded.

Launceston General Hospital nurse and midwife Amanda Duncan told the inquiry on Tuesday doctors had said former executive director of medical services Peter Renshaw allegedly amended causes of death on medical certificates.

“I have received 11 reports from doctors and nurses who have disclosed alleged misconduct relating to the death of a patient, including falsified medical certificates of death,” she said.

The Department of Health is investigating the allegations, to be reviewed by an independent clinical expert.

“If any deaths are considered to be reportable deaths, they will be referred … to all relevant authorities, including Tasmania Police if a potential breach of the law is detected,” department secretary Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said in a statement on Wednesday.

She called on the public to assist.

“Please report to us any concerns relating to the death of a patient at the Launceston General Hospital that you believe should have been a reportable death to the Coroner,” Morgan-Wicks said.

Renshaw retired from the position in 2022 and was later found to have engaged in misconduct by misleading an inquiry into child sexual abuse in state institutions.

A registered nurse told the inquiry in January that staff at the hospital were concerned causes of death were not being correctly reported to the coroner.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028


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