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  2. Lack of Staff Hurts Patients at Wallsend Hospitals

Lack of Staff Hurts Patients at Wallsend Hospitals

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State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, will today call on the Health Minister to ensure that hospitals in the Wallsend electorate are properly resourced after reports of patients losing out because of staffing shortages.

Ms Hornery has raised concerns that patients have faced lengthy wait times, not seen a doctor, or not received substantial treatment at the Calvary Mater Newcastle on weekends or public holidays due to ‘skeleton crews’.

In March 2022, 10% more patients waited more than four hours in the emergency department at John Hunter Hospital than in March 2021, according to figures from the Bureau of Health Information released last week.

Over the same time period, there was a 17% increase in patients waiting more than four hours at the Calvary Mater.

“I have been continually calling on the NSW Government to fix the staffing shortages at local hospitals, and news that emergency department waiting times have blown out is completely unsurprising,” Ms Hornery said.

“The staff at the Calvary Mater do their best to help patients, but they’re not getting the support they need from the NSW Government. They are simply under-resourced and under-staffed and we are seeing what that is doing to our entire health system.

“People are waiting longer for ambulances, even in the most urgent cases. People are waiting longer to see doctors in the emergency department. People are understandably worried that, if the worst should happen, they won’t get the medical attention they need.

“Two years into a pandemic, the NSW Government should be turning its mind to ensuring our health systems can cope with demand.

“We are in the middle of a perfect storm of COVID-19 and flu, but there’s nowhere near enough flexibility in our system. Nurses, doctors, paramedics and other health staff are just overwhelmed and it is patients who suffer as a result.

“The staff at the Mater and other hospitals deserve for the Government to have their backs and make sure they have the staff and resources they need, so that they can do their jobs and save lives.

“I am calling on the Minister to step up and support staff at the Mater and other local hospitals so they can do their jobs,” said Ms Hornery.