Hospital closes theatres
AMA WARNS STAFF MORALE LOW
WAIT times for elective surgery at Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital will blow out because the hospital has shut five of its seven operating theatres on Fridays, according to the Australian Medical Association WA (AMA).
An East Metropolitan Health Authority spokeswoman defended the change, saying activity levels were unaffected since the hospital condensed elective surgery to four days, beginning on February 6.
AMAWA president Andrew Miller dismissed claims by the EMHA that operating theatre closures were part of ongoing efforts to improve patient experience and hospital efficiency.
“For the EMHA to come out and say that the decision would somehow improve the experience of patients is ludicrous,” he said.
“We know that certain elective surgery procedures have waiting times of up to 12 months. Cutting all elective surgery on Fridays is not going to improve that.”
He warned that staff morale at the hospital was at an alltime
low with nursing staff facing job losses, a claim the EMHS denied, saying theatre staff who normally worked Fridays would be redeployed across the hospital, with surplus staff given training to improve skills.
“Theatre staff are not replacing any ward staff,” the EMHS spokeswoman said.
Dr Miller said hospital administration made the decision without consulting frontline staff.
“At no point were any of the general surgeons asked to provide input – they were simply told that the decision was going ahead,” Dr Miller said.
The EMHA spokeswoman said staff were consulted, “as required by their respective heads of department”.
She said all of the respective heads of department, nurse directors, unit and support service managers had input and were consulted regarding the change of theatre schedule.
“Theatre forums were held for affected staff in November and December 2016,” the spokeswoman said.
When asked if the changes were due to budget belt tightening she replied: “All hospitals must work within their allocated budgets.”
AMAWA president Andrew Miller says surgeons were not consulted.