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Investigation: No ambulance for stroke victim

NSW Minister for Health MP Jillian Skinner and NSW Minister for Mental Health MP Pru Goward open the new Byron Central Hospital. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
NSW Minister for Health MP Jillian Skinner and NSW Minister for Mental Health MP Pru Goward open the new Byron Central Hospital. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

HEALTH authorities have launched an investigation into an incident at Byron Central Hospital where a man suffering a stroke was allegedly told his wife should drive him to hospital.

The investigation was confirmed by Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones in a letter to Paul Rea obtained by The Northern Star.

Mr Jones also announced the investigation in a statement where he outlined the events leading up to Mr Rea's transfer to John Flynn Hospital late last month.

"The time taken for the patient to be examined, receive medical imaging and be assessed as stable was an hour 45 minutes, during which time a referral to a specialist neurologist was arranged," Mr Jones said.

"Upon discharge, the patient was provided with the option to travel privately to John Flynn Private Hospital based on his stable condition.

"The specialist physician has since been in contact with the patient who advised the clinician he was more than satisfied with the treatment he received at (Byron Central Hospital)."

Mr Rea clarified the issue is centred on inability to resource an ambulance to transfer him not the treatment provided by Byron Central Hospital staff.

"I was exposed to medical danger because of a lack of decent transport," Mr Rea said.

"I've always been told strokes are medical emergencies."

Mr Rea said he wanted to add his voice to "what appears to be a catalogue of complaints" about the hospital's resources.

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson expressed his sympathies to Mr Rea and his wife.

Cr Richardson also cited an incident where his daughter, who he said had suffered a head injury, was allegedly told at Byron Central to either wait five hours or drive his daughter to another hospital.

He said Mr Rea's story highlights a statewide issue and the critical need for our hospitals to have sufficient emergency transport.

Health minister Brad Hazzard was contacted for comment.

Topics:  byron bay byron central hospital northern nsw local health district northern rivers health stroke


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