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Byron Shire
June 18, 2021

Nice new building but Lismore Hospital has ‘longest regional waiting list’

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L to R: Justine Elliot, Walt Secord and Luke Foley with Lismore Hospital unionists at Monday’s (March 19) announcement. Photo supplied

The opposition has taken a swing at the state government’s handling of rural health, using Lismore Hospital as a base from which to launch its ‘Schools and Hospitals before Stadiums’ campaign.

Labor leader Luke Foley and Northern NSW Shadow Minister Walt Secord were in Lismore this morning (March 19) to highlight the hospital’s deficiencies a year out from the state election.

The pair demanded the Berejiklian government ‘explain and justify why they are spending $2.7 billion on new stadiums in Sydney – while rural, regional and coastal families get a second-class health and hospital system.’

While Lismore Base Hospital is the subject of an upgrade, they say the hospital is unable to meet the growing demand in the region and it has the longest waits in emergency department for a rural and regional hospital.

In the most recent independent Bureau of Health Information data for the October to December 2017 quarterly reporting period released on March 14, Lismore Base Hospital had the longest waits in emergency department – outside Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle.

Mr Foley said the hospital was ‘at breaking point’, adding ‘patients are suffering’.

“The Berejiklian Government has the wrong priorities. They are spending billions on stadiums but letting down country families wanting first class health and hospital services.

“Sadly, patients wait at every stage in NSW; they wait for an ambulance; they wait in an emergency department; they wait for a hospital bed; and when they finally get a bed, they are rushed out of the hospital, risking re-admission due to infection.”

Mr Secord said the hospital was ‘under enormous pressure with the longest waits in emergency departments in the entire state’.

‘Lismore Base Hospital has secured the unfortunate distinction of being the most under pressure hospital in regional NSW,’ he added.

According to the Bureau of Health Information, the elective surgery waiting list at Lismore Hospital has increased by 18 per cent in the past year.

The number of patients waiting for a hip replacement has increased by 54 per cent over the same period.

Currently, there are five patients awaiting surgery at Lismore Base Hospital who have been waiting for more than a year.

The median wait time at Lismore Base Hospital for non-urgent elective surgery was 326 days with 329 days for cataract removal, 329 days for total hip replacement and 335 days for total knee replacement surgery.

The pair say these waits are well above the state average.

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  1. So much noise about Lismore Base. If the opposition were serious, and not just trying to score political points, they would be asking why Tweed Hospital performs so much better with fewer resources. Perhaps the performance data detailing what it costs per emergency patient and how long their wait, would be more relevant.

    • Always amazes me how people compare so called statistics from one facility vs another. Statistics mean nothing unless the variables are exactly the same. That means training, equipment, hard structures, associated services, proceses and th social and medical make up of the catchment area.

  2. The Labor opposition is in stitches at the state government’s handling of rural health. There was mirth using Lismore Hospital as a base from which to give birth to its twin subjects ‘Schools and Hospitals before Stadiums’ campaign.

  3. Why are regional hospitals struggling when our government has squillions to spend on city centric infracture projects designed to feed money into their mates in big business?

    Another example of the gulf dividing professional politicians from the working class.

  4. Hmmm….. longest wait times in regional nsw but not as long as some sydney hospitals. So we need to be completely honest. It’s not just regional people suffering. It seems ALL NSW hospitals are at crisis point when it comes to wait times in emergency and for so called ‘elective’ surgey. And why not tell us the wait times for non elective surgery. From what I have heard they can be too lengthy as well.
    I think we need to face facts that ALL hospitals in NSW should have better budgets and more money spent on expanding and upgrading them but most importantly enough money allocated to STAFF them adequately. This I believe is our biggest problem.
    Oh…and while I am at it. A hospital system that provides not adequate but nutritional, individual patient apporopriate fresh, quality Australian produced food. Too many times i have experienced and seen people whose medical conditions require specialised diets unable to be catered for and family or friends have had to bring in food. Or worse…. the patient has simply had to go without. This is definitely NOT good enough.

  5. Fair criticism but what is it they are offering if elected? Did they offer to give nurses the fixed nurse to patient ratios we have been campaigning for since 2011 so we can give the public the best care we can? Did they offer to employ more cleaners, kitchen staff, wardspersons, etc so the public get to attend a big new building that operates at the standard expected? If not this is just another pointless photo opportunity.


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