Despite NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s claims that the NSW hospital system is adequately equipped to deal with the rising rates of COVID-19, leaked emails from two hospitals suggest otherwise (surprise, surprise!).
Perrottet has been adamantly claiming that the state is in a “strong position” to deal with the COVID numbers, which reached over 22,5000 on New Year’s Day.
However, frontline workers – the people actually dealing with the impacts of the pandemic – are experiencing things a little differently to Dom and other politicians who continue to beef about the definition of ‘close contact’.
As reported by the ABC, staff at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst received an email from its executive director Dr Kevin Luong about the impact of increasing staff shortages.
“We are continuing to experience critical staff shortages across the organisation, particularly in nursing,” wrote Dr Luong.
“Whilst we are trying our best to work around this, we are beginning to run out of options to maintain safe nursing staffing levels.”
According to the ABC, in the email Dr Luong had major concerns about a surge in the emergency department over the festive period.
He said it “may leave us extremely vulnerable and potentially compromise patient care”.
“I am requesting that all senior medical staff urgently review their current inpatients, liaise with their teams, and where possible and safe, organise to discharge your patients as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for the hospital told the ABC that while it was dealing with “staffing pressures” it had “introduced a number of measures to keep staff and patients safe”.
Now, according to The Guardian, another Sydney hospital may resort to flying in nurses from overseas to help alleviate the increasing pressure on the healthcare system.
An internal email from St George’s Hospital in Kogarah seen by the publication revealed that it “can’t seem to keep up with the exposures and positive staff”.
“We have commenced the process for overseas recruitment.
“Across the facility, the patients numbers in the departments are unprecedented.”
A spokesperson for South Eastern Sydney’s local health district told PEDESTRIAN.TV that “recruitment of nurses and midwives from agencies and recruitment overseas is standard procedure across all major public hospitals in NSW”. The health district has also approached a number of nursing agencies to recruit additional staff.
It’d seem that despite the government’s claims, the actual workers and hospitals on the frontlines of COVID are experiencing increasingly difficult conditions.
Brett Holmes, general secretary for the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association union spoke to the ABC about frustration at the government within the industry.
“Our members are getting angry with the government about their continual message that our hospital system is OK. It is not OK.
“Our members are doing their very best but copping abuse from patients expecting our hospitals to be able to operate on staffing that is below minimal levels.”
I can’t believe this has to be said, but don’t direct your frustration at the pandemic to the nurses and doctors trying to help us all survive it.
Direct it at the people in power who actually have the ability to deal with a public health crisis.