Hospital lift going nowhere

FOUR months after the lift at the busy Lismore Base Hospital broke down, the North Coast Area Health Service conceded yesterday it didn’t know when it would be fixed.

Answering questions from The Northern Star, the best a spokesperson could say was the NCAHS was working to have the ‘lift back in operation as soon as possible’.

The non-functioning lift is one in a series of problems that hasbeset the aging base hospital.

Early last month this paperrevealed the hospital’s emergency and nurse call system had failed and patients had been issued with small bells to call for assistance.

In one case an elderly bed-ridden WWII veteran was forced to call Triple-0 after busy staff on the large ward could not hear his bell.

This led to Lismore MP Thomas George calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the hospital’s failing infrastructure.

Yesterday, the spokesperson said engineers had discovered the problem was the key switch unit.

“The lift engineers are waiting on delivery of parts in order to complete the installation,” the spokesperson said.

A major upgrade of the hospital’s emergency department and wards, known as Stage Three, has long been promised, but appears to have fallen off the State Government’s radar.

The Government recently slashed $30 million from the area health service budget.

Last Friday, The Northern Star reported that the lack of doctors at Lismore Base meant the hospital’s four permanent registrars had worked more than a combined 649 hours in overtime, in addition to their rostered 1440 hours, over a four-week period.

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