Picture shows how NSW hospitals are under 'enormous pressure'

·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read

NSW paramedics say the public should be outraged as the state's healthcare system buckles under the Delta variant of coronavirus

Ambulances have been forced to queue outside hospitals for hours as patients wait for care. 

The union representing the state's paramedics shared a photo on social media showing hospital staff at Westmead Hospital in Sydney's west forced to bring machinery into the carpark in order to treat a waiting patient. 

Photos shared by the NSW paramedic union show delays at Westmead Hospital (left) with staff wheeling out an X-ray machine, and St George Hospital (right) in Sydney. Source: APA/Twitter
Photos shared by the NSW paramedic union show delays at Westmead Hospital (left) with staff wheeling out an X-ray machine, and St George Hospital (right) in Sydney. Source: APA/Twitter

The Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) said one person had to be X-rayed while stuck in the ambulance bay, where up to 13 vehicles were waiting for hours.

"NSW Health is failing patients and Paramedics," the APA tweeted. 

Long delays at the hospital on Monday night forced paramedics to do paperwork on the concrete parking lot floor decked out in full protective gear, the union said. 

The ambulances were mainly transferring Covid-19 patients to the hospital.

"These kind of scenes don't belong in a functioning first-world healthcare system," APA NSW President Chris Kastelan said in a statement.

Speaking to 7News in Sydney, paramedic Brett Simpson said the strain on the paramedic workforce at the moment was "unlike anything we've ever seen". 

"The public should be outraged," he said.

In a separate tweet on Tuesday night, the APA showed close to a dozen ambulances waiting in the car park of St George Hospital in Sydney's south, saying long delays are "no longer exceptions – they are the norm".

"We need better protocols to meet this," it said. "Patients and Paramedics need solutions, not denial."

Hospital system 'under enormous pressure': Minister 

The state government is facing increasing pressure over its handling of the outbreak as daily cases numbers continue to surge, followed by a rise in hospitalisations. 

"There is no question that the hospital system is under enormous pressure across NSW," the state's health minister Brad Hazzard acknowledged on Tuesday.

But he insisted that overall the system was "still extraordinarily good".

In recent days, four cancer patients, a nurse manager and a junior doctor have tested positive for the virus at southern Sydney's St George Hospital. Twenty-one patients are isolating, as are 80 health workers.

Mr Hazzard on Tuesday said the case was "fairly indicative" of the way Covid-19 is affecting hospital staff.

"Unfortunately all our health staff are finding they're on the receiving end of having to be taken offline because they're potentially exposed," he said.

He asked the community to be tolerant and understand that health staff were working hard, "but we're in a pandemic and people will have to be taken offline and we will have to have some inconvenience".

with AAP

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