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Canberra Hospital: Even the Nurses say its crap

By Skidbladnir 12 March 2008 33

Over the Long Weekend, I had the fortune of attending The Canberra Hospital due to a family member being involved in a head-on collision with a lunatic driver (wrong lane, speeding, child in the passenger seat), who arrived at TCH by ambulance.
We were told to wait and once they had arrived and been assessed, we would be let in to see them.
We hung around for almost three hours after the family member’s arrival before the nurses inside the Emergency ward realised that we were still waiting to see them, we were told “Sorry, there’s been a bit of a rush on”.
So we waited to see nurses and doctors, and after impossibly slow action on seeing to a broken arm, hand, foot, and leg, possible internal injuries were finally ruled out 12 hours later.
Having been told that once a bed on another ward became available she would be moved, I went home at 3am, because I had to get to work in four hours.

Its now been over three days since arrival and yet still, she is occupying space on the Emergency Room because a bed has not become available in the Hospital proper, and has not slept without assistance as the ER is nothing but busy doctors and nurses and humans on diagnostic machinery.
Apparently not even claiming private helath care can help, as there are also no beds available there.
Nor are there any other beds available at John James Hospital in Deakin, and they cannot put her into Calvary.

One friendly nurse was quite happy to tell me that this kind of delay and short staffing is not uncommon, and that the bed shortage is much more than just statistics on the news, but nothing more than talk seems to have happened.

Anyone know the Jacqui Burke Health Hotline thing, so we can ram a greased pole up Katy Gallagher and get her back on doing her job of BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR HEALTH CARE?

According to this statement from Katy “Don’t blame the Minister, its my Department’s fault” Gallagher herself, the numbers of hospital beds in the ACT are set to decrease next year.

By the end of 2007–08… …will have a capacity of over 800 hospital beds on average, an increase of 24 per cent on the number of beds available in 2001–02 (670).

Based on current estimates… …it is anticipated that the ACT public hospital system will have access to just under 800 beds on average by the end of 2008-09.

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Canberra Hospital: Even the Nurses say its crap
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Skidbladnir 10:40 am 18 Mar 08

Update, after spending four days in the ER, got finally admitted to a bed for a night, and home the next afternoon.
But not without finally spotting a cracked sternum and two ribs about two hours before discharge.
And forgetting to assign the proper equipment needed.

But the nurses themselves were wonderful people, who deserve at least whatever they’re getting paid now. And a holiday.

VicePope 11:44 am 17 Mar 08

ps to previous. A 24 hour bulkbilling practice onsite or near would get the emergency wait down enormously.

VicePope 11:42 am 17 Mar 08

Recent experience. Very long wait in Emergency, despite the patient (whom I was accompanying) being agreed to be very sick. Lack of beds, apparently. Eventually got in, and spent close to a day in there before being moved to a ward.

I don’t think the patient would have any concerns or complaints about the quality of medical care. Appropriate practitioners at all times, reasonably frequent monitoring. Hard working doctors and nurses who did not seem to stop. Good medical result achieved in good time.

Two adverse comments. First, the system seems to be over-clericalised to an unhealthy level – the number of clerks is extraordinary and their work practices seem sometimes a bit self-serving. For example, it may be better to do the discharge thing by having a clerk come to the patient, rather than queuing masses of patients on comfy chairs watching clerks talk to each other. Second, as one who rants a bit about privacy, I see there’s an obvious problem with personal stuff being said and done in public areas like the emergency waiting room and the discharge lounge. I could hear (because the clerks called out rather than walking five metres) details of procedures and practitioners.

thetruth 10:43 pm 13 Mar 08


Just say Stanhope fix it or we will boot you out… simple if you allow it to be the Feds are not paying enough blah blah then you allow folks to blame other and not be responsible – that in turn allows Stanhope to pay $750K for the GDE sculpture while saying Howard wasn’t paying enough for health!!!! Isn’t it Stanhope not doing the job he was charge to do and playing silly buggers with your health dollars – why would you give him more, when he spends so much on crap like that.


nyssa76 6:36 pm 13 Mar 08

If things have really gone pear-shaped and you should be in hospital the doctor organises and admission, bypassing the shlurks coughing and sniffing in A&E.

Ingee, last year, despite the severe asthma attack (like barely breathing). I had my doctor’s nurse take me to TCH, he called ahead and she had a letter.

I was STILL left in A&E for over 5hrs with a broken heating thingy (you know the one above the sliding doors to keep out the cold) in the middle of June.

Their solution? “Just keep using your ventolin dear”

It’s kinda sad when you have to use it three times on the way to the bathroom (and back) and walk past people who bloody well shouldn’t be there.

MrMagoo 4:45 pm 13 Mar 08

1800 whinging old cow, oh hang on a minute that’s Jacqui’s home number

Thumper 1:58 pm 13 Mar 08

Note to self, use preview button…


Thumper 1:58 pm 13 Mar 08

Is there that many hours in a week 🙂

gun street girl 12:00 pm 13 Mar 08

I guess we could all just work harder. That’s what Boxer the horse said before he was carted off to the knackery in Animal Farm, wasn’t it? I only worked 90 hours last week – I am sure I could work harder. 😉

Mr Evil 11:58 am 13 Mar 08

Katy’s only part-time: she doesn’t have time to worry about this stuff.

Not that there’s anything wrong anyway. Katy is always right: 300 000+ Canberrans are wrong.

gun street girl 11:36 am 13 Mar 08

Asking the bosses to come in at 10pm every evening [i]is[/i] asking them to work more! Registrars at the moment bear the burden of shift work already – a move towards adopting shift work for all and sundry (including bosses) would prompt a mass exodus (and TCH is already struggling to recruit – unsurprisingly). Without all health care workers (including allied health, the imaging department etc etc) working shift work, moving the medics into a shiftwork pattern won’t fly, because we need our colleagues to do their bit to facilitate admission, treatment and discharge (I think we’re probably agreed on that point).

An aside on the logistics of shift work: it’s hellishly difficult to staff, in that you’d need to at least treble your recruitment of medical officers. TCH’s ICU and ED have a massive amount of staff when you compare them to ward units. They need those staff in order to cover for days wherein staff are on ‘recovery’ after evenings or nights, as well as to work holidays and weekends (which are usually understaffed elsewhere). At the moment, we are struggling to recruit medical officers to cover the hospital as it runs now!

virgil99 11:22 am 13 Mar 08

Gun street girl, your comments are quite correct. unfortunately, there are teams where weekend reviews never occur. The suggestion is for the whole hospital to move this way, not just the busy medical registrars. For example, there are units where on a weekday, there maybe 3 consultants and 3 registrars in the hospital for 60 odd patients, while on a weekend there is a single consultant round of 2 hours or so.
Why can the whole thing not move to a shiftwortk pattern to even up the cover. Why cant there be an evening consultant round at 10pm of all the new admissions to ensure safe and appropriate management. Not asking people to work more, just differently. ED’s and ICU’s dont run for just 40 hours per week. Patients turn up at all times but the management is so much different based on the day, or the hour.
Compare the evenness of admissions and discharges for paediatrics and the medical teams. Paeds runs 7 days, most medical teams run 5. Not blaming the doctors alone, more the whole system, including the allied health staff etc that you mention above.

Danman 10:50 am 13 Mar 08

CALMS – Canberra After-hours LocuMS.

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