United Kingdom

Probe in NSW ambulance, hospital crisis

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Emergency care experts are questioned about bottlenecks in NSW public hospitals and the widespread ramp-up of ambulances as hospitals remain under extreme stress after more than two years of battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSW The parliamentary inquiry begins Wednesday with the president of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Clare Skinner, the first to be questioned about the pressures hospitals and ambulance services are experiencing.

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James Gray of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and John Bruning, CEO of the Australasian College of Paramedicine, will also share their views on the crisis.

The Labor opposition announced the House of Lords inquiry in July and said it was necessary to get a comprehensive picture of the problems facing state hospitals.

“It will shine a spotlight on what we consider to be a crisis… in emergency rooms everywhere” NSW in public hospitals,” said Labor leader Chris Minns.

The Bureau of Health Information’s latest quarterly report revealed that between January and March, patients waited longer in emergency rooms and faced unprecedented wait times for ambulances.

Mr Minns is concerned about the unrest borne by frontline workers who are forced into long shifts.

Two senior emergency department specialists to appear on the survey said emergency departments in western Sydney are under constant pressure from overcrowding.

Pramod Chandru and James Tadros could not recall a day in the past three years when the ambulance ramp and access blockade did not interfere with a patient’s treatment.

Access blockage occurs when hospitals are unable to take in new patients through emergency rooms due to a lack of beds.

“At the beginning of our careers, access blocks and ambulance ramps were exceptions … phenomena reserved only for the busiest days of the week,” the couple wrote in a submission to the study.

The current emergency department model previously provided world-class health care, but was now out of line with current standards, they said.

Overcrowding hinders the training of junior doctors and nurses, with staff training in situations that even senior doctors were completely unfamiliar with.

“We are demanding more and more risky behavior from them and teaching them standards that may not translate into safe clinical practice,” they said in their submission.

“The burden of risk is a heavy weight to bear for the uninitiated.”

The Australian Medical Association’s latest Ambulance Ramping Report Card found more reports of ramping in the past two years, requiring people to be driven to the emergency room when ambulances were not available and patients dying while waiting for an ambulance.

“States and territories are not meeting their performance targets and longitudinal data shows that the time it takes to transfer a patient from the ambulance to the care of the hospital’s emergency department is generally increasing year over year” , the AMA said.

“This is a clear indication that our hospitals are in crisis.”