An unprecedented number of elective surgeries were cancelled at Shoalhaven Hospital due to the recent bed block crisis.
The hospital’s head of surgery Martin Jones revealed his staff were heartbroken to turn away 50 patients in just two weeks.
“I’ve had senior staff break down and cry over it,” Mr Jones said.
“Some of these patients have been cancelled on two or three times. Building up to an operation is not easy.”
Mr Jones delivered the bad news personally to patients, and, compelled to inform the broader community, offered a humble public apology.
“I wish to apologise to the people of the Shoalhaven,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the hospital has been under enormous pressure. We have had some of the most significant numbers of patients ever coming to Shoalhaven and Milton/ Ulladulla Hospitals daily via casualty. We need more beds and we need more nurses. The other problem is, there are not enough beds in local nursing homes. If we could fix the outflow it would help.”
He’s concerned funds being channeled towards the new car park would be better spent on the hospital itself.
“The announcement of the construction a multi-storey car park does nothing to address the lack of beds, or lack of staff necessary to face the next few months,” Mr Jones said.
He stressed staff have handled the pressure admirably.
“It must be noted that through this very difficult time, the nursing, ancillary and administration staff have maintained the highest level of devotion and care,” Mr Jones said.
“The events of these last two weeks have left many of these fine staff in tears and struggling with the enormity of the problem. The cancellations have been experienced all year but the severity of the last two weeks has never been seen previously.”
With flu season approaching, Mr Jones fears the problem will intensify.
“The concern of the professional staff of the Shoalhaven Hospital, is that pressures of patient numbers will not abate, it will only worsen,” he said.
“In this situation the logical response is to cancel elective surgery so that at least the urgent medical and surgical patients will have a bed.
“Urgent need of beds and more staff is the only way to keep this hospital functioning as an elective and emergency hospital. If these are not forthcoming more and more cancellations of planned admissions will have to happen.”