Hos­pi­tal on by­pass as staff strug­gle to fit pa­tients in

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - — Nikki Todd

WHILE de­bate rages over the site of the new Tweed Val­ley Hos­pi­tal, doc­tors and nurses at the coal­face of the ex­ist­ing hos­pi­tal are strug­gling to find beds for sick pa­tients.

The emer­gency depart­ment at the ex­ist­ing Tweed Hos­pi­tal has been forced into am­bu­lance by­pass mode on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in re­cent weeks, where am­bu­lances car­ry­ing less crit­i­cal pa­tients are redi­rected to other hos­pi­tals in the re­gion.

Tweed Hos­pi­tal med­i­cal staff co-chair­man Mike Lind­ley-jones, who heads the in­ten­sive care unit at the fa­cil­ity, said the hos­pi­tal re­mained per­ma­nently log­jammed, with staff strug­gling to find beds to treat new pa­tients.

Dr Lind­ley-jones said there had been no im­prove­ment since he first raised aware­ness of the is­sue in the Tweed Daily

News in March, with the hos­pi­tal per­ma­nently op­er­at­ing at more than 100 per cent ca­pac­ity.

“We are on by­pass on and off all the time,” Dr Lind­leyjones said.

“That’s noth­ing new for us to be on by­pass un­for­tu­nately. We would still take any­one who has a time­crit­i­cal ill­ness, but we are very short of beds.

“It seems to be we are per­ma­nently full and log­jammed and we can’t move pa­tients in and out, it just gets quite dif­fi­cult to man­age.”

Dr Lind­ley-jones said he ex­pected the si­t­u­a­tion to be “an on­go­ing thing” un­til the new Tweed Val­ley Hos­pi­tal was built, plac­ing enor­mous stress on staff.

“We are go­ing to have to bat­tle these is­sues for the next few years un­til the new hos­pi­tal is built and then hope­fully we will have more space to treat our pa­tients,” he said.

Dr Lind­ley-jones said the si­t­u­a­tion was im­pact­ing ser­vices over the bor­der, with pa­tients forced to be sent to hos­pi­tals at Robina and Gold Coast Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal.

“Our aim with the new hos­pi­tal is to re­verse those flows and al­low pa­tients from this area to be treated lo­cally, rather than have to flow up to Robina or Gold Coast or some­times even Bris­bane,” he said.

He said while the 12 new hos­pi­tal beds due to come on­line in June as part of the Tweed Hos­pi­tal’s new tem­po­rary “pop-up” fa­cil­i­ties to help ease over­crowd­ing were wel­come, they would be “a drop in the ocean” in a hos­pi­tal that cur­rently has 220 beds.

Doc­tors want 450 to 500 beds at the new hos­pi­tal.

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