NT News

HEALTH ON THE BRINK OF MELTDOWN

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THE Covid-19 wastewater fragments found in sewage in the Berrimah area, including Truck City, have added new urgency to the crisis engulfing the Top End’s healthcare system. Reports of stretched healthcare workers and the news on Thursday that NT Health has closed a third of beds at Palmerston Regional Hospital, are not symptoms of a health system coping with demand.

Nor does the fourth Code Yellow being declared at the Royal Darwin Hospital in under a year on Wednesday.

They point to severe issues within the health system, borne out of over a decade of neglect.

The elephant in the waiting room for years has been the Palmerston hospital, which has been scrutinise­d for solved a problem which didn’t exist.

While the satellite city received a shiny new healthcare facility in 2016, staffing levels at Royal Darwin Hospital were allowed to deteriorat­e to such a point where the nursing union now estimates the facility needs up to 100 nurses just to get cover existing demand.

The emergency department, aged and disability care sectors and mental health wards need further resources.

Amid this, Palmerston’s emergency department looks to have been cannabilis­ed in order to flow further resources into RDH.

The government needs to release a plan for how they’re responding.

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