NEWS THAT MATTERS

Health crisis grips the state

It’s outrageous that the Liberal National Government's solution to fixing the Emergency Department crisis in NSW is for people with serious medical emergencies to go to their GP instead of seeking urgent medical treatment at their local hospital – it’s happening here on the Central Coast, too.

30 September 2022

ALAN HAYES

 

THE Grapevine revealed on 2 September 2022 that the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) in their Quarterly Report showed that the Central Coast Local Health District is the worst in the State with 51.5% of emergency department patients waiting more than four hours for treatment at Central Coast Hospitals.

 

The new data only confirms what patients exiting emergency departments (ED) without being treated already know - the Central Coast healthcare system, along with the rest of the state, has been pushed to the brink under Dominic Perrottet and the Liberals twelve years in power.

 

The BHI date also revealed that tens of thousands of people left NSW EDs without finishing treatment, the highest number on record.

 

Continued pressure on the New South Wales health system has seen patients on the Central Coast and elsewhere waiting longer than ever before for ambulances and facing long delays before seeing a doctor in hospital.

 

Half the ambulances sent to patients classified as “emergencies” took more than 16.3 minutes, the worst result in 12 years.

 

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch said the staff at Gosford Hospital are at breaking point.

 

“Nurses in the community are telling me that shifts are often understaffed, and staff are being pushed to do overtime and extra shifts on a regular basis,” Ms. Tesch said.

 

On Wednesday 21 September 2022, Member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison slammed the NSW Government for failing to address the health crisis gripping NSW hospitals and said “the Premier's responses to questions in the NSW Parliament showed he has no plans to fix the crisis and that he is only interested in blaming patients for their woes.”

 

The Premier refused to admit there was a hospital crisis and instead took the opportunity to boast about new hospital buildings.

 

Ms. Aitchison pushed the Premier to answer her questions about the health crisis a number of times and to address the staffing shortages but instead was assailed with an absurd and maniacal outburst from Health Minister Brad Hazzard – “should have just seen a GP.”

 

Aitchison fired back at Hazzard, “You don't need a GP if you end up in ICU.”

 

“A quality health system is not about new bricks and mortar, it's about supporting the people in it - the patients and our dedicated, hardworking and burnt-out health staff," she said.

 

Ryan Park, Shadow Minister for Health said , “Ambulance ramping is getting worse under the NSW Liberals. Emergency Department wait times are at record highs here on the Central Coast.”

 

“In March next year, people have a clear choice; a government that is tired and failed to address the crisis in NSW Health or a party under Chris Minns' leadership that is determined to do things differently in our health and hospital systems,” he said.

 

“We've got a system in New South Wales that is absolutely in crisis.

 

“People leave emergency departments without getting adequate treatment or finalising their treatment. That means they often come back days later, and their condition is worse.

 

“We are going to staff our hospital wards appropriately and safely, because when wards are staffed safely, patients are cared for.”

 

Jasmine Davis, president of The Australian Medical Students’ Association, said “disastrous” staff shortages, extreme burnout, and intensified clinical demand are among the factors straining the health sector. The peak body is concerned the crisis will have ramifications for patient safety.

 

“It is essential that we focus on alleviating the current workforce pressures and put in place structures to reduce burnout in the medical profession long-term,” Ms. Davis said.

 

Dominic Perrottet and the LNP Government are consistently ignoring what the real problem is in the health system and their refusal to accept the crisis and do something about it is putting lives at risk.

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