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  • Keegan Thomson

Carer says hospital is "overcrowded"

FRESH allegations of overcrowding and ailing facilities at Nepean Hospital have come to light after a concerned resident approached Nepean News with her story.

Kaylene Sheen has been taking her husband to Nepean Hospital for treatment of an ongoing medical condition for the past 15 years.

She said the facilities at Nepean Hospital have become overcrowded and are currently overflowing.

“I have been taking my husband to Nepean Hospital for about 15 years and over the past two years or more I have watched it become full to overflowing,” Ms Sheen said.

“In the past I’ve taken my husband to Nepean Hospital, as he has numerous medical issues, where he was triaged and taken straight to a monitored bed.

“Over the past two years, on some occasions, there have been no monitored beds and in some cases no beds at all, so he has had to sit in a chair near the triage nurse’s desk,” she said.

She said the triage two rooms are small, uncomfortable and don’t offer up much room for the patient’s family or carers.

“This room is so small and uncomfortable,” she said.

“Nepean can hardly fit patients in there let alone carers or family.

“The room is that small and compact that nursing staff have trouble bringing in and using monitoring equipment. They have had to ask family members to move to the corridor so they can manoeuvre their equipment,” she said.

Brett Williams, General Manager of Nepean Hospital, responded to some of the allegations in Ms Sheen’s letter.

He said the triage rooms are only meant for short assessments “to assess a patient’s urgency of care; and are designed to only accommodate the triage nurse, patient and a family member or friend.”

“This is to allow the triage nurse to make a thorough and uninterrupted assessment and maintain the patient’s privacy,” he said.

Even with this in mind Ms Sheen wrote in her letter to Nepean News that staff and health professionals are concerned about the state of the hospital.

“I’ve been told firsthand by medical professionals and a prominent specialist from Nepean that the hospital is full to overflowing, and that it’s a nightmare to fight,” she wrote.

Brett Williams said the hospital is currently facing an increasing population of Penrith.

“Nepean Hospital is currently experiencing a high demand for services from an expanding population with many new housing developments and more people than ever moving into the Penrith region,” Mr Williams said.

“As a teaching hospital, we also provide complex clinical care to residents west of Penrith from across NSW. All of these things can make us a very busy hospital.

“However, we have highly experienced staff that work to maximise flow and bed availability every day,” Mr Williams said.

Mr Williams didn’t comment directly on the allegation of his staff speaking out about the overcrowding but instead commented on the movement of staff across the local health district.

“To make more beds available for new patients, we may transfer patients who no longer require tertiary care to other hospitals within the Local Health District to continue their recovery - often closer to home.

“Many of our doctors work across our hospitals and so patients receive continuity of care from their own doctor,” he said.

Due to the “the overcrowding” of Nepean Hospital Ms Sheen said she and her husband have had to look elsewhere for their medical treatment.

Currently they’re driving to Blacktown Hospital for any treatment simply because there is more room with bigger facilities.

Ms Sheen said she could talk about these only as a carer, not as a patient, but she thought these issues were important to the community.

“I would like to respond, from a carers point of view, so the public and people of western Sydney knows what it’s really like,” she said.

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