KeepHealthCare.ORG – Hospital cancels 50 surgeries in two weeks due to bed block crisis
An unprecedented number of elective surgeries were cancelled at Shoalhaven Hospital due to a recent bed block crisis.
Head of surgery Martin Jones said staff were heartbroken to turn away 50 patients in two weeks.
“I’ve had senior staff break down and cry over it,” Mr Jones said. “Some of these patients have been cancelled on two or three times. Building up to an operation is not easy.”
Mr Jones has offered a public apology.
“Unfortunately, the hospital has been under enormous pressure,” he said.
“We have had some of the most significant numbers of patients ever coming to Shoalhaven and Milton/ Ulladulla Hospitals daily via casualty. We need more beds and we need more nurses. The other problem is, there are not enough beds in local nursing homes.”
He’s concerned funds being channeled towards the new car park would be better spent on the hospital itself.
“The announcement of the construction a multi-storey car park does nothing to address the lack of beds, or lack of staff necessary to face the next few months,” Mr Jones said.
He said staff had “maintained the highest level of devotion and care” in a stressful time.
“The events of these last two weeks have left many of these fine staff in tears and struggling with the enormity of the problem,” he said.
“The cancellations have been experienced all year but the severity of the last two weeks has never been seen previously.”
With flu season approaching, Mr Jones fears the problem will worsen.
“In this situation the logical response is to cancel elective surgery so that at least the urgent medical and surgical patients will have a bed,” he said.
“Urgent need of beds and more staff is the only way to keep this hospital functioning as an elective and emergency hospital. If these are not forthcoming more and more cancellations of planned admissions will have to happen.”
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has been contacted for comment.