Greens MP and Health spokesperson, Dawn Walker joined local Ambulance Officers, community members and an Emergency Doctor to call for Nepean Hospital to be re-classified as a ‘major trauma centre’ to improve access to health services for Western Sydney residents and reduce pressure on local paramedics.
“It’s very concerning that Nepean Hospital was downgraded from a Major Trauma Centre to Regional Trauma Centre status back in 2008, despite having all the equipment and medical expertise to deal with major trauma cases.
“The result of this is that ambulances are regularly bypassing Nepean Hospital and instead taking local patients to Westmead and Liverpool Hospitals, which are much further away, despite Nepean Hospital having the skills and capacity to treat many of them.
“This is leading to longer travel times for patients and their families and is taking ambulance cars away from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which is a part of Western Sydney experiencing massive population growth “said Greens MP, Dawn Walker.
The Australian Paramedic Association said that the lives of patients in the Nepean and Blue Mountains areas are being put at risk by “red tape” forcing paramedics to bypass Nepean Hospital in critical emergencies.
“It is outrageous that the few intensive care paramedics in the Nepean, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury areas, who are highly trained to manage major trauma, are being sent on extended transports to Westmead instead of transporting their patients to nearby Nepean Hospital.
“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 that is 30km away and not Nepean Hospital which is within 800 metres.
“This is because Nepean Hospital does not receive Major Trauma funding.
“This is a ludicrous situation which is placing lives at risk” said Australian Paramedics Association delegate Liu Bianchi
Dawn Walker MP said she would be raising the matter with the Health Minister in State Parliament and called on Liberals MPs in Western Sydney to stand up for local residents and review the impacts of the trauma protocol at Nepean Hospital.
The NSW Trauma Protocol requires any major trauma patient to be transferred from their place of injury to a Major Trauma Centre if it is within a 60 minute travel time. Areas serviced by Nepean Hospital (a regional trauma service) are also often within 60 minute travel time of Westmead Hospital (a major trauma service), resulting in trauma patients often being transported out of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District to Westmead Hospital, even when Nepean Hospital is equipped to deal with their injuries.