Hospital crisis keeps on growing

The Grapevine has reported previously on a number of occasions on the growing hospital and ambulance crisis facing the Central Coast and the rest of NSW, and, in spite of the Premier’s claims, the situation has not changed – ambulances are still under increased pressure and thousands are left waiting for elective surgery.

AMA (NSW) has repeatedly said, elective surgery is not ‘unnecessary surgery’, it is serious medical care and delaying that care impacts on the quality of life for many Australians.


“Elective surgery shouldn’t be a tap that Government turns ‘on’ and ‘off’ to cover for serious cracks in our healthcare system.

3 March 2023


THE release of the latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) today confirms nearly 100,000 people in New South Wales are still waiting for elective surgery and NSW Ambulance is under sustained pressure with more responses than in any quarters since BHI began reporting in 2010.


There were more than 67,000 people who left the Emergency Departments without receiving the treatment they desperately needed.


Across the state:


*67,898 patients walked into an Emergency Department in the last 3 months and left without, or before completing treatment.


*Almost half of all critical emergency patients presenting to the ED did not have their treatment start on time.


*One in 10 patients who were treated and admitted spent more than 19 hours and 57 minutes in the ED.


*Almost 40 per cent of life threatening patients, with conditions like cardiac or respiratory arrest, waited longer than the 10-minute target for an ambulance to arrive.


*Almost 100,000 people were on elective surgery waiting lists at the end of December, including more than to 17,000 who had waited longer than clinical guidelines say they should.


There are more than 17,000 patients who have waited longer than clinically recommended for their essential elective surgery. This comes just days after it was revealed that operating theatres in Westmead Children’s Hospital are being used for storage rather than performing surgeries.


These results illustrates the state of our health system after 12 years of neglect under the current government. The people who work in our health system have been neglected, leaving a shortage of nurses, because they are leaving the profession, and a loss of 365 hospital beds across NSW.


The Government’s cap on the wages of our nurses, paramedics and allied health workers is making it harder to recruit and retain people in these essential roles, making understaffing in our hospitals even worse.


It’s not fair on our hardworking healthcare professionals to have to manage a system that is stretched to its limits.


NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said “Another set of BHI results that clearly show what we have been saying for a long time now; this is not a health system that is coping.


“More than 67,000 people walked into an Emergency Department and turned around and left without receiving their treatment.”


Ryan Park, NSW Shadow Minister for Health said “This data does not paint a picture of a healthy system.


“It confirms what we already knew, hospitals across the state are under continued pressure.


“They are under resourced and struggling to cope with increased demand.”


AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen said healthcare workers have been insulted by assurances that the health system is strong and coping.


“Those working in all sectors of our health system know this is not the case.


“Suspending elective surgery to cover staffing shortages and ease pressure on hospitals may be inevitable but it was avoidable, and it will have profound consequences for patients... it is yet another sign of a system in crisis."

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