Waiting times threaten patient recovery

Allied health services at hospitals around the region are at breaking point, according to the Health Services Union, with the Tweed Hospital among the worst hit.

While emergency department waiting times have improved at the hospital, Echonetdaily understands that waiting times for physiotherapy services are so long that they threaten the outcomes of some operations.

Patients are routinely waiting up to 12 weeks to see a hospital staff physiotherapist, or being told they should pay to visit a private physio, which can cost upwards of $80 a visit.

Ideally physiotherapy should start in seven to 10 days after a joint operation and sooner after major trauma surgery.

Echonetdaily understands the situation is similar in other allied health disciplines, such as social work, dietetics, occupational therapy and radiography.

After visiting major north coast hospitals this week, HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said job vacancies are remaining unfilled and administrators are relying on the goodwill of exhausted workers to fill the gap.

‘Our members are burning out because they are trying to do everything they can to support the community. Many of [them] have had to work through their breaks to make sure that members of the public are looked after,’ he told ABC radio this morning.

‘There are just not enough physiotherapists to be able to treat patients rather than running from patient to patient doing the best that they can.’

My Hayes said the local health district needed to commit to having the correct number of staff in place to cover all the vacant positions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.