MP calls for hospital inquiry
LISMORE MP Thomas George yesterday called for a parliamentary inquiry into Lismore Base Hospital after it was revealed an elderly man was forced to call Triple-0 from his hospital bed to get medical assistance.
The Northern Star reported on Saturday that 87-year-old World War II veteran Kevin Park called the emergency number after nurses failed to hear the small silver bell he had been issued because the nurse call system was still not working after almost a month.
“I have today written to Labor Premier Kristina Keneally asking her to visit the hospital and remedy the situation immediately,” Mr George said.
“I am also asking for a formal NSW Legislative Council inquiry into the crisis at Lismore Base Hospital.”
Patients at Lismore Base Hospital’s surgical ward were given bells four weeks ago when the aging electronic nurse call system failed.
In addition to the non-functioning Nurse call system, one of the two lifts in Block A is not working.
The call for an inquiry into the poor state of Lismore Hospital was immediately backed by its medical staff council.
“We give our support to any form of inquiry because we feel there is no transparency,” the council’s media liaison officer Dr Chris Ingall said.
“We hope a parliamentary inquiry on some of these issues will shed light on what we see as a critical situation.”
Mr George said the hospital’s disrepair was putting additional pressures on its medical and nursing staff whose numbers have already been reduced due to budgetary cuts.
“This scandal is yet another disastrous consequence of the NSW Labor Government’s decision to axe 400 full-time jobs from North Coast hospitals,” he said.
“The nurses at Lismore do an incredible job, but there are clearly no longer enough of them to keep up with growing demand.”
The Premier’s Department did not return calls from The Northern Star yesterday.
A North Coast Area Health Service spokesperson has previously said the hospital was waiting for quotes to fix the Nurse call system and lift.
Its chief executive Chris Crawford has also denied suggestions that it was allowing the hospital to run-down ahead of the proposed Federal Government takeover.
Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan also yesterday called on the Rudd Government to investigate the truth of this claim.
Meanwhile a new health lobby group aiming to improve local health services was officially formed at Goonellabah yesterday.
The group, called Our Health, includes the members of Marshall Fittler’s now closed Regional Community Watch group along with doctors Sue Page, Chris Ingall, Scott Wagner and John Mulholland, and operates under the slogan ‘health care, when and where we need it’.
Mr Fittler said the group would look at issues such as health funding and the size of area health services.