Paediatric coverage under fire

Ellie HoneyboneSound Telegraph
Shortages in the WA healthcare system were highlighted last month as Rockingham General Hospital was unable to admit children or pregnant women over the long weekend.
Camera IconShortages in the WA healthcare system were highlighted last month as Rockingham General Hospital was unable to admit children or pregnant women over the long weekend. Credit: Sound Telegraph

Shortages in the WA healthcare system were highlighted last month as Rockingham General Hospital was unable to admit children or pregnant women over the long weekend.

From 8am on September 24 until 8am September 27 inpatient medical paediatric service coverage was not available as a result of staff unavailability.

A RGH spokeswoman said the decision to not admit people was made in the interests of patient safety.

“Sick children who presented at the emergency department during this period were all assessed and either discharged or transferred to another hospital,” she said.

“The RGH ED has a dedicated paediatric area within the department and is well equipped to provide a quality emergency service for children.”

According to the hospital, there was 113 ED paediatric cases during the long weekend and of those patients requiring an inpatient admission, only four would have been deemed suitable for care at RGH.

Eleven expectant mothers who had intended to deliver at RGH in that same period were transferred to other hospitals, including Fiona Stanley.

Shadow health minister Roger Cook said the staff shortages were an example of crisis in WA’s health system.

“It’s a dire situation when sick kids can’t be admitted because there’s not enough staff to look after them,” he said.

“The Government needs to fix this, urgently.

“Like most Perth hospitals, Rockingham appears to be struggling to cope with the demand for services.

“Our health system is under enormous pressure, with hospitals experiencing record ambulance ramping and massive wait lists.

“Hospital staff are doing everything they can but they are not being given enough support by the Government.”

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