Hospital fears developers are putting patients at risk
PATIENTS’ lives are being put at risk since helicopters were suspended from landing at Nepean Hospital because of building cranes protruding into the surrounding airspace, a hospital clinician has alleged.
Nepean Hospital’s acting general manager Brett Williams said the facility had introduced a management plan to “ensure appropriate transfer measures by road are in place for time-critical patients”. He would not comment on whether lives were being put at risk.
But Associate Professor Ronald Chin, vice-chairman of Nepean’s Medical Staff Council, said the lack of helicopter access was “completely unacceptable at a major teaching hospital”.
Doctors and the Health Services Union confirmed all flights had been stopped because of the issue.
Dr Chin says developers should never have been allowed to erect cranes in Derby and Parker streets, Kingswood – near the hospital helipad.
Dr Chin maintains the cranes “have impaired our ability to care for patients”.
A hospital source said “critically ill patients have had their health compromised” because no helicopter was able to land at Nepean Hospital.
In minutes from the August 31 meeting of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Board, CEO Kay Hyman was cited as saying “the majority of helicopter transfers are for patients requiring intensive care (neonatal and adult) and therefore ... it may be necessary to land at an alternative site”.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner’s office would only say a “helipad upgrade will be considered as part of the redevelopment of Nepean Hospital”.
A crane in Parker St near the Nepean Hospital.