MP calls for hospital inquiry

Lismore MP Thomas George is calling for an inquiry after an 87-year-old man at Lismore Base Hospital had to call 000 on his mobile phone because he wasn’t able to get a nurse’s attention.

Patients in some wards at the hospital have been issued with brass bells to get the attention of nursing staff because the buzzer system has been out of order for about four weeks.

North Coast Area Health Service CEO Chris Crawford said an interim buzzer system would be in place by today (April 1) and a permanent one within three weeks.

“I have issued a public apology and the general manager of the hospital has apologised to Mr Kevin Park personally. The circumstances of the incident are not satisfactory... it should have been done differently and better. If I had known about the interim system, I would have approved it earlier,” Mr Crawford said.

Thomas George said he has written to the Premier Kristina Keneally asking her to visit the hospital and also requesting a Legislative Council inquiry into the crisis at Lismore Base Hospital.

“Instead of downgrading hospital services in a region of growing and ageing population, the government must get Stage 3 of the redevelopment (the Emergency Department) back on track as promised not put on the backburner,” Mr George said.

Medical Staff Council spokesperson Dr Chris Ingall agreed.

“For a long time the government has acknowledged that the hospital is under resourced... Up until now it has only affected service provision. Now critical infrastructure is being affected. The nuts and bolts are not getting repaired.

“From a patient’s point of view it’s critical to have a way to communicate in a way they know where you are and the bells just don’t cut it... From our point of view the budget for the Base has been critical for a long time and now it is being shown to be a risky place to be. The Emergency Department layout is substandard and we need Stage 3 to be built,” Dr Ingall said.

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