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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Lack of John Hunter staff putting lives at risk

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery is calling on NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard to ensure adequate staffing levels are reached at John Hunter Hospital.

The plea comes after it was revealed last week that six beds in the busy Emergency Department (ED) remain unused due to a lack of employees.

Staff and paramedics raised their concerns with Ms Hornery about four ED beds and two resuscitation beds, which are still closed.

The Emergency Department remains one of the busiest in the state, with almost 23,000 presentations during the last quarter of 2020, including 6556 arrivals by ambulance.

“The lack of staff to use these beds is putting lives at risk with waiting times blowing out and ambulances forced to queue due to a lack of available facilities,” Ms Hornery said.

“The presentations to the Emergency Department continue to grow and, despite recent expansions opened by the government, beds remain closed and unused.

“Staff are being stretched to breaking point and are working harder than ever, but the promised increased numbers are nowhere to be seen.

“We have 4 ED beds and 2 resuscitation beds not being used – and this is putting lives at risk.”

Ms Hornery said staff were being put under pressure to use the resuscitation beds despite the lack of available staffing numbers.

“Ambulances and paramedics are forced to spend time caring for patients in queues at the hospital due to the lack of accessible bed space,” she stated.

“This has led to a blow out in response times for our ambulances across the Hunter including code one incidents.

“We need to ensure our hospitals are adequately staffed to cope with our growing population. 

“We have to see increases in medical staff so lives are not being put at risk.”

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