Hospital on bypass as staff struggle to fit patients in
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.