HEALTH CRISIS: ARMIDALE HOSPITAL TO GO 60 HOURS WITH NO DOCTOR

HEALTH CRISIS: ARMIDALE HOSPITAL TO GO 60 HOURS WITH NO DOCTOR

Photo caption: Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall MP outside Armidale Hospital.

Marshall calls for ‘clean out’ of failing HNEH management

Friday, 28 July 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has again called for urgent and immediate action to rectify the situation at Armidale Hospital Emergency Department, which he says will be left without any doctor for 60 hours during the next week, according to internal hospital rosters.

Mr Marshall has slammed Hunter New England Health for their continued failures in the administration and functioning of the rural referral hospital, which has been left for many shifts without doctor coverage.

“The situation is getting increasingly worse and is now at crisis point,” Mr Marshall said.

“The rosters I have seen scare the hell out of me – in the Armidale Emergency Department, at this point, there is no doctor rostered for 12 hours on Monday, 12 hours on Tuesday, 20 hours on Wednesday, eight hours on Friday and eight hours on Saturday.

“This is almost unbelievable, I mean, we are not some small remote backwater town with a tiny hospital or MPS – this is Armidale, the major referral hospital for the Northern Tablelands that is supposed to be the buttress for the smaller district hospitals and MPS facilities in more isolated locations.

“Health district management have again failed our region and it’s time for the Health Secretary and Minister to clean these people out, who appear to delight in mistreating our communities and their own hard-working and tired nursing staff.

“ED services are stretched to capacity with an increase in patients seeking medical care due to the winter season and referrals from Inverell, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.

“Nursing staff are under increasing pressure in the Emergency Department, often working at times without a doctor and relying on telehealth services.

“Telehealth was never designed to replace doctors, but that’s exactly how the health district is now using the service.

“This situation is a crisis and an utter disgrace. It’s a monument to the incompetence of management and I am calling for heads to roll and big changes made.

“This situation cannot continue as I fear someone in our community may lose their life.”

Mr Marshall said the staffing crisis has been made far worse by Hunter New England ‘against’ Health, with the formal termination yesterday of a hardworking and regular locum doctor, who has been instrumental in filling the gaps at the Armidale Hospital Emergency Department for more than a year.

“The doctor has been advised he will no longer be engaged to work in the ED not because of any clinical issues, but because the health district has an internal policy about the length of time they will employ the same locum doctor, which has been reached,” Mr Marshall said.

“This is utter madness from Hunter New England ‘against’ Health and akin to something from Utopia, not a real-life situation in a situation as critical as a hospital emergency department.

“How on earth can a bureaucratic policy and red tape be allowed to get in the way of filling what are gaping holes in the ED medical staff roster?

“Here we have a good doctor who is more than happy to continue working in the ED, which is so obviously short staffed, and Hunter New England health says, ‘no thanks, we’re right, we’ll just have no doctors in the ED, put all the pressure on our exhausted nursing staff and not bother about properly caring for the region’s patients.’

“The utter stupidity and contempt by management is frightening.

“It has long past time now that the Health Secretary and Minister intervene and commence a serious investigation

“Receiving medical care is a basic human right and I am seeking immediate and urgent Ministerial intervention to ensure this happens.

“I am demanding a solution – I really think we can do better than this.”

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