Hospi­tal fears de­vel­op­ers are putting pa­tients at risk

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Is­abell Petrinic

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.

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