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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
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 8:45 am 13 Mar 08

Go to Queanbeyan Hospital – service is better, faster and the place is a lot quieter.

Special G 8:16 am 13 Mar 08

Don’t bother taking your 2 year old to Calvary – no paediatrician on duty there. They have to call TCH for advice.

captainwhorebags 7:51 am 13 Mar 08

There is always the possibility that some minor ailments (sniffles, colds, basic sprains) will get looked at quickly. It may be possible to assess and treat the patient in fasttrack without requiring a full emergency bed, whilst more serious (although still not time critical) problems have no choice but to wait for a proper bed to free up.

A big problem that is only going to get worse is the number of elderly people in the hospitals. They come in from home where they were just getting by, have no nursing home to go to but can’t be discharged into their own care.

JC 4:47 am 13 Mar 08

So has your family member received the treatment to get her on the mend in a timley and efficent matter? As for those being kicked out at the first sign of them being better, you really have to ask why they would want to be there if better? The 2am discharge sounds like a beat-up, there would be no admin staff at that hour to do that.

halo 10:24 pm 12 Mar 08

The emergency department in TCH is an absolute joke – I’ve lived in cities around Australia and it is much worse here than elsewhere. The typical wait is 3-4 hours or more. The nurses are often apathetic. Some of them seem poorly trained. Like the previous posters say, they’ll turf you out the door at the first opportunity, regardless of the hour. Clearly, something needs to be done!

CanberraResident 9:28 pm 12 Mar 08

skaboy12 – I agree, but people also need to determine whether their ailment is worth clogging up the hospital system for – there ARE some doctors out there who DO bulk bill those on health care cards etc. There is an entire medical centre in Belconnent and one in Tuggeranong that bulk bills everybody.

sepi -you say “And I don’t actually think there are that many people in casualty with a sniffle. Who would want to sit around for 7 hours with nothing much wrong?”

Incorrect. MANY people go to the hospital because they feel off colour, have the flu, or can’t get to or simply refuse to go to a doctor. My sister-in-law is a nurse and I have no reason to doubt her.

sepi 9:02 pm 12 Mar 08

I know a lot of ex-nurses. They do not get paid enough. And their working conditions are not good.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Canberra hospitals seem to be always operating one step ahead of total disaster. And this is not a new situation. I think this is where Jon should put his surplus.

Danman 8:58 pm 12 Mar 08

Just to clarify – is she spending time in the ED ward – or on the floor in the ED waiting room ?.

From an editorial point of view – there is a world of difference.

The ED has its own ward full of short stay beds. They are far removed from the ER waiting room, yes they are noisy, as emergencies happen 24/7 and no they will not turn off someones ECG or ventilator because you can not sleep. Its hospital, not a hotel. The staff are there to preserve life – not pamper. Sure its noisier, but I bet its a darn sight better than being somewhere else and not getting treated.

Mrs Danman works on ward in TCH – and she was admitted to the ER last year. She had to stay overnight in the ED ward as there was no beds on a ward.

Oh and being a private patient in a public hospital means only one thing. Your choice of doctor.

You can not make demands followed up by “I am a private patient” – trust me its been said before and scoffed at as many times.

Perhaps more incentives to become a health professional is what we need?
Better pay, better funding, better conditions, better negotiated EBA’s… I dunno… What I do know is that for all the funk ups that the government do to the health industry there are about 3 dozen health professionals that I know who are on the front line who cop the shit from mostly families, but often patients on a daily basis for something they have no control over.

Who in their right mind would want to work in an environment like that – no matter what industry ?

Mrs Danman has been threatened with physical violence, punched, kicked in the neck, scratched and verbally abused, ad all for what? A pittance…..Yet she still loves her job….Hospitals need more people like that….

szeretetta 8:34 pm 12 Mar 08

A little over a year ago, the nurses at Canberra ED took their issues to Katy Gallagher – she came to meetings at the hospital and talked with the nurses about how things could be improved. Unfortunately, things have not improved since then.

Long gone are the days where people could stay overnight in ED to recouperate a little – if you’re well enough, they will turf you as soon as look at you. It is not that they don’t care, but they need the beds too much.

sepi 7:50 pm 12 Mar 08

A friend was told she was going home from maternity on Sunday night. On Saturday they asked her if she needed painkillers, and when she said no, they asked her to go home! She had no way of getting there, as everything had been planned for the next day. It seems like the answer is to always accept the drugs!

And I don’t actually think there are that many people in casualty with a sniffle. Who would want to sit around for 7 hours with nothing much wrong?

skaboy12 7:01 pm 12 Mar 08

CanberraResident, If the government did something to get more doctors bulk billing then people wouldn’t need to go to th hospital with the flu. Those people may not able to afford the $55 to go to the doctor, of which you get $30 back. $25 is a lot of money to a lot of people and and its only going to get worse with KRudd running the show.

nyssa76 6:48 pm 12 Mar 08

Try having a severe asthma attack and seeing people with coughs and sniffles being looked after first!

“Please let us know if you are experiencing difficulties breathing” my arse!

CanberraResident 6:40 pm 12 Mar 08

skidbladnir, your case certainly doesn’t fall into this category, but if people out there would stop clogging up the hospital system with sniffly noses, and upset stomachs, then perhaps the hospital would be in better shape.

I took my 2 year old to Calvary a few weeks ago – very high temperature persisted for 2-3 days and wasn’t getting any better, so at 2am off we went, only to find a whole bunch of not very sick people sitting in the Calvary waiting room. A cough here, a sniffle there. No suspected heart attacks by the looks of things, no severe lacerations, and no pregnant women waiting to deliver. Just a whole bunch of flu victims. I waited 7 hours before my 2 year old was attended to. So much for friggin triage! DISGUSTING!

I wish people wouldn’t always blame the Government on hospital inefficiencies – we all know that Katy Gallagher is a garbage Minister for Health, but let’s take a bit of responsibility ourselves shall we? Do you really need to go to casualty with your snotty nose when a regular GP or a good lie-down will do the same? There sre still some practices that will bulk bill, and it’s likely the wait won’t be 7 hours.

cranky 6:35 pm 12 Mar 08

A friend had a recent stay in Woden. A problem was diagnosed, treated, and healing commenced. At about 11pm he was woken and asked if pain killers were required. He replied in the negative. At that, the Doctor asked if he could call his wife to come and pick him up, there and then! He explained that his wife had spent the last 20 hours at his bedside, and rather than coming to collect him, would be catching up on some well earned sleep.

Not to be foiled, at 2AM(!) the same Doctor returned, waking him again, and requesting he sign forms to permit his discharge.

Something is very wrong with a system that needs to exert such pressure to gain an empty bed.

sepi 6:26 pm 12 Mar 08

Hospitals in the ACT are no good when they are busy. Which seems to be about a third of the time.

I don’t know what can be done about it.

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