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The AAP reports that NSW Central Western Hospital has been unable to hire its maternity ward for nearly two years due to staffing problems:

The central western hospital in NSW, which cost the state more than 70 million dollars, could not employ its maternity hospital for almost two years due to staffing problems, it was heard in the parliamentary investigation.

The new Parkes Hospital was completed in late 2015 at a cost of $ 72.8 million, and is designed to accommodate suits and maternity needs.

But an NSW parliamentary inquiry into regional health care on Wednesday heard that maternity wards at the hospital had remained vacant since June 2019.

Expectant mothers must instead travel to nearby Dubbo or Orange.

Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith said it was because a longtime local doctor retired in mid-2019 and was never successfully replaced, while the model the midwife ran at the hospital never materialized.

He also said that the two hospitals in the operating room were underused, with both theaters sitting empty for at least three days each week.

“This is not acceptable in a city with a population of 12,000 people and a population of 15,000 people,” Cr Keith said at a hearing in Dubba.

Parkes-based general practitioner Kerrie Stewart said the city has a maximum of eight permanent doctors for 12,000 people.

The shortage of physicians was so severe that the usual meetings of general practitioners in Parkes were often held a month in advance, while patients with urgent needs were often sent to the hospital.

Three Parkes doctors are also on the verge of retirement.

“Doctors work on weekends and extra days to provide COVID and flu clinics, often those clinics put out fires, provide emergency scripts, referrals, and organize medical meetings,” Dr. Stewart said.

“(We) do not have that critical mass of general practitioners.

“You feel torn because you’d like to open the door and let everyone in, but that’s not possible … I can appreciate the absolute frustration and anger and disappointment of the patients.”

Cr Keith said Parkes Hospital does not currently have too many staff to perform colonoscopies and on one occasion sent a man with a dislocated shoulder to Orange because an anesthesiologist was not available.

He said the Parkes Shire Council had in the past resorted to fundraising and hosting charities to raise the money needed to recruit GPs.

On Tuesday, the woman said when asked in Wellington that her mother died at the Gulgong multipurpose service in September without the presence of a doctor.

Hayley Olivares ’mother Dawn Trevitt, a 66-year-old Gulgong teacher, was taken to the vehicle by ambulance on September 15, 2020.

It took 35 minutes for Ms. Trevitt to connect with the doctor via Telehealth, by which time she had deteriorated significantly. She died in an hour.

The other patients at the medical center north of Mudgee were left to the cook, while the two nurses on duty assisted Mrs. Trevitt.

Ms. Olivares was also critical of NSW Health reconsider the death of his mother, saying that she was not independent and made the wrong conclusions.

The report showed that the doctor present would not have saved Ms. Trevitt’s life.

“I’m not so sure,” Ms. Olivares said.

Warrumbungle Shire Council Deputy Mayor Aniello Iannuzzi also said four hospitals in his region are running out of antibiotics and blood supplies.

“Unfortunately, there are times, and times are too frequent at my request, when we run out of basic antibiotics to treat basic conditions,” said Dr. Iannuzzi.

More than 700 people filed applications.

NSW Health spokesman Ryan Park said in a statement Wednesday: “The Berejiklian government is pointing to upgrading hospitals, but bricks and mortar are not saving lives – it’s doctors, nurses and paramedics doing it.”


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