NSW rejects RNS emergency recommendation
The New South Wales Government has accepted 43 of the 45 recommendations made by a committee looking into Sydney’s Royal North Shore (RNS) Hospital, but says it will not support a recommendation to change the way emergency patients are sorted.
The inquiry was launched after a number of serious issues at the RNS, including the miscarriage of Jana Horska in the hospital’s emergency department toilets after she waited two hours for treatment.
The Upper House committee, chaired by Christian Democrats MP Reverend Fred Nile, handed its report to the Government five days before Christmas.
The report identified problems including an unacceptable tolerance of workplace bullying, a disconnect between management and staff, and a shortage of nurses.
There were also revelations during the inquiry about live cockroaches in operating theatres and beds collapsing during surgery.
Health Minister Reba Meagher says one of the recommendations not supported by the Government involved modifications to the triage system.
“This is not a decision for Government, nor is it a decision for management,” she said.
“The method of triage is one that has been established by the informed decision making of the Australasian College of Emergency Physicians.
“The Government has noted that recommendation and referred it to the Australasian College for their consideration.”
Ms Meagher says there have already been significant improvements at the hospital over the past few months.
“Every week, the performance of Royal North Shore Hospital has been improving and we’re determined to see that change continue,” she said.
“The recommendations that have been brought forward by the Nile inquiry will inform and add to that process.”
But Opposition’s health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner says low morale and understaffing are still major problems at the hospital.
“This hospital needs more nurses, it’s short of beds still, it needs specialist doctors and they’re all tearing their hair out about what they see as flawed redevelopment plans,” she said.
“This is a Minister who is clearly out of her depth.”
A special commission of inquiry was called last month into the NSW health system, after the deputy state coroner found the RNS caused the death of a 16-year-old when it made every conceivable error in its treatment.
The girl, Vanessa Andersson, died at the hospital in 2005, two days after she was admitted for a skull fracture she suffered when she was hit by a golf ball.
The coroner, Carl Milovanovich, found the teenager died of respiratory arrest due to the effect of the medication she was administered. The inquest heard anaesthetist Sanaa Ismial gave Miss Anderson the wrong dose of a painkiller.
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