The Douglas Inquiry investigated the Obstetrics and Gynaecological services at King Edward Memorial Hospital from 1990-2000. Performance deficiencies were identified at state, board and hospital level contributing to poor outcomes for women, babies and families. The Inquiry raises important issues about clinical governance, leadership and culture, accountability and responsibility, safety and quality systems, staff support and development, and concern for patients and their families. The King Edward, Bristol and Royal Melbourne Hospital inquiries reveal important similarities and key lessons for governments, health care leaders and providers. The health care industry must ensure effective clinical governance supporting a culture of inquiry and open disclosure, and must build rigorous systems to monitor and improve health care safety and quality.