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Suspended senior doctor resigns from Mackay Base Hospital amid review into obstetrics and gynaecology

By Janelle Miles
A senior doctor at Mackay Base Hospital in North Queensland has resigned amid an ongoing review. (ABC News: Chris Gillette)

A senior Queensland doctor — who was suspended five months ago amid an independent review into obstetrics and gynaecology at the Mackay Base Hospital — has resigned.

Philip Reasbeck's resignation as the Mackay Hospital and Health Service's executive director of medical services was announced in an email to staff on Friday.

In the email, Mackay HHS chief executive Lisa Davies Jones said a recruitment process would start soon for a replacement. 

It's the second resignation of a senior doctor at the hospital following their suspension pending the outcome of the review.

Although Dr Reasbeck was not involved in the provision of obstetrics or gynaecological services at the hospital, as Mackay HHS's executive director of medical services, he was responsible for professional medical governance.

Mackay Health Service's executive director of research and innovation, David Farlow, has been acting as executive director of medical services since Dr Reasbeck's suspension.

Review to examine complication rates

Ms Davies Jones ordered the ongoing external review into maternity and gynaecological services at the hospital after being approached by patient advocate Beryl Crosby regarding concerns about complication rates.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suspended the hospital's authorisation to train registrars in the specialty eight months ago, before the announcement of the review.

Chief executive Lisa Davies Jones says a recruitment process will start soon to replace Dr Philip Reasbeck.  (Supplied: Mackay Hospital and Health Service)

The review — which began on November 1 — is investigating maternity and gynaecological outcomes at the Mackay Base Hospital between July 1, 2019, and October 31, 2021.

Headed by obstetricians Dr Ted Weaver and Dr Gregory Duncombe, the review is examining the safety and quality of the services provided, including complication rates.

Since the review was called, the ABC has spoken to more than half a dozen women who have described complications following obstetric and gynaecological surgery at the hospital, including cut bladders and ureters.

Although these are known complications of surgery, obstetricians say that, if a doctor's error rate is "higher than accepted", it should be investigated.

The results of the review are expected to be handed to Ms Davies Jones by the end of June and she is expected to make them public.

Ms Crosby said she was awaiting the release of the findings of the external review with "great interest".

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Dive Deeper:
'We couldn't imagine our life without her': Dr Henry Murray's lasting legacy
Dr Murray leaves behind a huge legacy for mothers and babies throughout Hunter New England.
Rural health at crisis point as towns go without local doctors, fund their own medical practice
Attracting and retaining doctors is an age-old problem for rural areas. Will the election be a game changer?
Mental health trust 'unable to justify' its own conclusion that Emily Jones' death was unpreventable, says independent report
An independent review found the trust's report had 'not provided sufficient analysis' to justify its conclusion
Ripple effects of abortion restrictions
In Texas, medical professionals face tough quandaries when treating patients who have a miscarriage
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
The problem with abortion ban exceptions
Doctors will soon be forced "to figure out whether the emergency is emergency enough," one expert predicted
Nurses top UK poll on who makes biggest contribution to society
Doctors, teachers, scientists and engineers all beaten in survey for Royal College of Nursing
Get all your news in one place