Local lives are being put at risk by “red tape” forcing paramedics to bypass Nepean Hospital in critical emergencies, according to the Australian Paramedics Association.
As revealed by the Gazette in August, NSW Health has determined that when transporting major trauma cases in the local area, ambulances should bypass Nepean Hospital and instead take patients to Westmead, Westmead Children’s and Liverpool Hospitals.
“If someone is seriously injured in a car accident on the Great Western Highway, Kingswood, the paramedics are directed to transport patients to Westmead Hospital 30km away and not Nepean Hospital which is within 800 metres,” said Australian Paramedics Association delegate Liu Bianchi. “This is because Nepean Hospital does not receive major trauma funding.
“This is a ludicrous situation which is placing lives at risk.
“If a person is critically injured in Springwood, for instance, paramedics are forced to take them the 50km to Westmead Hospital because it is the closest, designated T1 Trauma Centre, within a 60-minute travel time.”
Nepean Hospital intensive care specialist and trauma director Dr Marek Nalos spoke out about the situation in August, saying the situation was leading to many patients injured just minutes from Nepean Hospital tying up ambulances being driven to Westmead.
He called for the protocol to be changed to 30 minutes of travel time from the place of injury to the nearest regional or major trauma hospital.
Greens MP and Health Spokesperson Dawn Walker visited Nepean Hospital on October 9 to speak with ambulance officers, doctors, nurses and local community members about their concerns with the effects of the protocol.
Ms Walker said she was “quite stunned” by the revelations, and would approach Health Minister Brad Hazzard to change Nepean’s designation.
“It seems a ludicrous situation we have at Nepean Hospital,” she said. “I’ll be asking the minister what the situation is with this T1 certification at Nepean Hospital and how we can change the situation.”