Patients injuring themselves due to staff shortages in country hospitals

Patients are injuring themselves in country hospitals due to chronic nursing staff shortages, says Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Mark Banasiak


Mr Banasiak’s said a stroke-affected woman fell over in a bathroom at Kurri Kurri hospital (near Cessnock) on the weekend, and was stuck on the cold floor unable to reach the emergency button.

The women, 72-year-old Elizabeth Ann Schroeder, also burnt her fingers while feeding herself soup at Kurri Kurri Hospital, because no nurse was available to help her. 

 “Our party receives regular complaints about lack of staffing in country hospitals, particularly on weekends,” Mr Banasiak

“It’s as if rural people now have to make sure they only get sick from Monday to Friday”.

“Doctors and nurses are doing their best, but patients’ lives are put at risk because wards are not properly staffed”. 

"The NSW Budget offered very little for most small  regional hospitals across the state".  

“The Government must urgently offer incentives to attract medical staff to rural hospitals, and mandate compulsory staff to patient ratios in all country hospitals”.

John Schroeder’s wife Elizabeth suffered a stroke earlier this month. He said family members need to be with her in hospital because there aren’t enough nurses to look after patients in the Kurri Kurri rehab facility.

“There were only three nurses rostered on during the weekend, to look after about 15 high need patients”.

“There are no staff in the dining areas to help patients eat”.

“It’s really distressing for our family. We have to make sure someone is always with her, because there aren’t enough staff there to cope”.

“Cessnock hospital is even worse.”

“I’ve lived in this area for 16 years, and I can tell you the standard of hospitals is really going downhill”.

Mr Banasiak said Cessnock hospital has no resident doctors, so patients have to wait until a GP presents for service. Yass and Maitland hospital also have serious staff shortages, he said.

 “There is a number of things the government could be doing to encourage medical graduates to spend their first five years after graduation in a rural location, including: paying HECS fees; providing housing; and offering financial bonuses for every additional year they spend in the area.” 

“We are seeing a growing divide between the city and the bush, and country people are literally sick of third world health care”.

“This really is a matter of life and death. This government should not be hoarding such a massive surplus while our rural hospitals fall to bits”.