NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell, Shadow Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and Liberal Candidate for Penrith Stuart Ayres today detailed the Liberal’s plan to deliver better health services to Penrith and the Lower Blue Mountains.
“After 15 years of Labor Nepean Hospital has 3,009 patients waiting for surgery, the longest waiting list of any hospital in NSW,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“40 per cent of patients wait longer than eight hours to be admitted to a hospital bed from emergency and 53 per cent of patients with a potentially life threatening condition wait longer than 30 minutes for emergency treatment.
“There are chronic nurse shortages at Nepean, including 20 full time equivalent unfilled positions in maternity, 14.5 in emergency and six in the operating theatres.
“Labor has failed to adequately staff and resource Nepean Hospital for 15 years, resulting in Penrith and Lower Mountains residents waiting too long for the high quality treatment they need and deserve,” Mr O’Farrell said.
Mr Ayres said he has met with doctors, nurses and patients who told me there are simple steps to improve working conditions, efficiency and productivity that will make a big difference to patient care, but Labor is not listening.
“I’ve fought hard for commitments to improve Nepean Hospital and other local health services and am pleased to tell the community a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will deliver better health services to Penrith and the Lower Mountains.”
- Deliver Nepean Hospital its fair share of resources;
- Fill vacant frontline jobs of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, like physiotherapists. Filling these positions will make more beds available to address the long surgery waiting list and emergency department blockages;
- Offer permanent appointments to senior nurse managers who have been ‘acting’ in their position for years;
- Give Heads of Departments information about their budgets, so they are directly involved in the running of their departments; and,
- Abolish Sydney West Area Health Service and replace it with a flatter Health District structure with Boards made up of local clinicians and community representatives.
Mrs Skinner said after 15 years of Labor, Penrith and the Lower Mountains had been taken for granted.
“A NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will fill frontline vacancies, by advertising those vacancies publicly to potential candidates outside the NSW health system, as only one third of nurses work in the public system,” Mrs Skinner said.
“Labor’s nurse cuts and recruitment freezes have resulted in longer waits for surgery and in the emergency department,” she said.
“We will also improve working conditions for our hardworking nurses by making workers currently in ‘acting’ positions permanent. Many senior nurses have been in ‘acting’ positions for years, leaving them with great uncertainty about their futures.
“By giving Heads of Departments, like surgery and emergency, information about their budgets, senior clinicians will be better able to plan and deliver the best outcomes for patients without the stress of unknown budgetary constraints.
“Labor’s massive, bureaucratic Area Health Services have not delivered the best health outcomes for patients.
“That is why we’ll abolish Labor’s failed Area Health Services, get health bureaucrats out of their ivory towers in North Sydney, and establish local Heath Boards made up of clinicians and community representatives focussed on delivering the best outcomes for patients.
“After 15 years of Labor’s failures, the only way to fix the health system is to start the change by electing a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government. And that change needs to start here in Penrith at the June 19 by-election,” Mrs Skinner said.
Mr Ayres said Labor’s 15 years of neglect and mismanagement will make it difficult to fix the local health system, but it is something he is determined to achieve.
“I want to work hard for Penrith and Lower Mountains patients and hospital workers to make sure Nepean Hospital and other local health facilities are providing the best patient care possible,” Mr Ayres said.