No plan for ex­tra doc­tors

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE -

THE re­gion’s doc­tor short­age has left pa­tients frus­trated, gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers over­worked and in­creased pres­sure on ser­vices, as shown by the lo­cal hos­pi­tal’s busiest month in Au­gust.

Med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent Dr Shaun Grimes said Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal had the equiv­a­lent of 15 full­time doc­tors and could rely on its strong re­la­tion­ship with GPs in times of cri­sis.

“It has been a chal­leng­ing pe­riod, but there are no cur­rent plans to in­crease staffing num­bers in the emer­gency depart­ment,” Dr Grimes said in Septem­ber.

“Our ros­ter can be ad­justed to cope with ex­pected in­creased ac­tiv­ity and we have staff who can be re­called on each shift if nec­es­sary.

“Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal reg­u­larly re­view their level of clin­i­cal ac­tiv­ity to en­sure that ser­vices are prop­erly re­sourced.

“At times there are longer waits be­cause all pa­tients are triaged to en­sure the most ur­gent cases are seen first.”

Dr Grimes ac­knowl­edged wait times could be frus­trat­ing, es­pe­cially when ac­ci­dents oc­cu­pied clin­i­cal re­sources, but said hos­pi­tal staff ap­pre­ci­ated the pub­lic’s un­der­stand­ing.

“Our com­mu­nity knows if they or their fam­ily ever need ur­gent help, we will be there for them at that mo­ment when they most need us,” he said.

“We are for­tu­nate to have long-term per­ma­nent staff and have no dif­fi­culty in re­cruit­ing doc­tors to Proser­pine.”

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