THE South Coast Register has obtained a photograph of theatre three at Shoalhaven Hospital, which staff, who didn’t want to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, have said can’t be used due to the ongoing problem with the hospital airconditioning unit.
In the photo two large dehumidifying units are clearly visible and, according to staff, are continuing to be used in the theatre.
This is a different theatre than the one affected during January’s heat wave, which put certain parts of the storage area for theatres outside Australian standards.
This latest problem is in the newer end of the theatre, while the previous problems were in the older part of the theatre suite.
In response, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, will be launching an investigation into how “unauthorised personnel” managed to take photographs in a patient treatment area.
“It should be noted that the nature of work conducted in hospitals is very sensitive and patient safety and privacy is our top priority,” a spokesperson said.
“It is not appropriate for unauthorised personnel to take photographs in a patient treatment area.
“Management will be required to investigate this breach to ensure no individuals’ privacy has been compromised.”
“Shoalhaven District Hospital is implementing strategies to address airconditioning issues within its theatre complex but all theatres are currently available for use,” the spokesperson said.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital maintain there is nothing wrong with the airconditioning system, despite the fact independent engineers have been called into to review the unit and prepare a comprehensive report.
Staff said there were significant issues with the airconditioning system, which has now been called into question on at least three occasions in the past couple of months.
A major failure occurred during the January heat wave as temperatures rose into the 40s, with a number of medications and some equipment having to be destroyed.
Staff said it was lucky that expensive orthopaedic prostheses could be saved or the breakdown could have cost millions of dollars.
It is understood there were further problems with another theatre on the weekend of the tornado that battered the city.
There have also been claims some surgical procedures have had to be conducted in smaller operating theatres due to the unit’s short comings.
Staff have asked the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District “to come clean” about the ongoing problem and find a solution.