NSW Labor has released an independent report card on Gosford Hospital.
NSW Shadow Health Minister, Mr Walt Secord, joined Labor candidate for Gosford, Ms Liesl Tesch, to provide the details of waiting times for elective surgery and waiting times in the emergency department at Gosford Hospital.
Mr Secord and Ms Tesch said Labor was committed to public hospitals; not the Americanisation of the NSW health and hospital system.
Wyong Hospital was one of the four hospitals that the NSW Government was considering privatising, Mr Secord said.
He said data from the independent Bureau of Health Information (BHI) revealed that Gosford patients faced some of the longest waits for elective surgery in NSW.
Young patients waited longer than a year for tonsil removal, while elderly patients waited almost a year, on average, for hip replacements.
According to the data, 820 patients waited longer than eight and a half hours in Gosford Hospital’s emergency department, and there were 2,240 patients waiting for elective surgery as of September 30, 2016.
Another report showed concerns about maternity care in Gosford Hospital, with almost half of young mums reporting that toilets were unclean.
Mr Secord and Ms Tesch said they called on the Berejiklian Government to accelerate its upgrade plans for Gosford Hospital.
“The community cannot wait,” Mr Secord said.
“The region has been neglected by the Liberals,” he said.
While upgrades or renovations were occurring at NSW hospitals, they were not being backed by proper staffing levels and resourcing, he said.
Mr Secord added that he was frustrated by the repeated “re-announcements” of Gosford Hospital by the previous Health Minister, Jillian Skinner.
“Planning started in the previous term of the Baird Government, in 2013, and the hospital upgrade is still not completed,” he said.
Ms Tesch said she praised the hardworking nurses, doctors and allied health workers, who were doing their best, but they were not being properly supported by the Liberals.
Almost 40 per cent (37.6 per cent) of Gosford Hospital patients waited longer than four hours in emergency department.
Four hours is the national benchmark.
Gosford was one of the State’s busiest emergency departments, outside Sydney, with more than 65,000 patients a year visiting the Emergency Department.
Forty-three (43) per cent of patients at the emergency department were in triage four and five categories, meaning that they presented with “small cuts, ear aches and abrasions”.
These were ailments that could have been treated by a GP, but low levels of bulk billing GPs meant that patients were forced to resort to the emergency department, according to Mr Secord.
And in the last three months, 820 patients had to wait longer than eight and a half hours in Gosford emergency department.
The median wait for non-urgent elective surgery was 297 days and 10 per cent of patients waited 360 days, almost a year.
Of the 2,240 patients waiting for elective surgery, 887 patients were waiting for ear, nose and throat surgery; 446 patients were waiting for orthopaedic surgery and 419 patients were waiting for tonsillectomies.
“Gosford is a growing community and its hospital is under enormous pressure,” Mr Secord said.
“I am deeply committed to the region and want to ensure that our hospital is properly resourced,” Ms Tesch said.
“It is time that patients got their fair share of resources and support at the hospital.”
Mar 6, 2017
Maegen Sykes, office of Walt Secord
Statistics, June to September 2016
Bureau of Health Information, Dec 2016