Lismore Base Hospital.
Lismore Base Hospital.

No beds at the Base

NORTHERN NSW Local Health District has rejected a claim the Lismore Base Hospital was full this morning and had stopped accepting patients.

A paramedic was heard this morning saying that, as the hospital could not clearing patients from the upstairs wards, downstairs (the emergency department) had reached capacity and they weren't accepting any patients.

However, the health service says the hospital was not full and it never turned away patients.

Hospital Medical Staff Council chair Dr Chris Ingall said staff regularly had to treat patients on beds in the corridors as the hospital was almost always at capacity.

"Its bed block, we are often 100% full here," he said.

"It's not really first world medicine is it?"

Mr Ingall said Lismore Base Hospital regularly exceeded the State Government's guideline of hospitals running at no more than 85% capacity to enable them to meet the needs of an emergency.

"We should be running at 85% full and were are running at close to 100% full all the time," he said.

"If you do get a sudden trauma, or if you do get a sudden catastrophe, if you are running at 100% you can't cope."

Mr Ingall said the only solution to stop the bed block was to increase the hospital's capacity by 100 beds.

"One hundred extra beds was the number of beds put forward by the 2006 strategic services plan," he said.

A health district spokeswoman denied the hospital was at capacity and said, as a public hospital, Lismore Base would not turn away patients.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has been contacted for comment on the bed block.

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