More than 18 months after Echonetdaily exposed the shambolic state of the Ballina Hospital emergency department, the state government has decided it is time to throw some money at it.
As we reported at the time, patient numbers at Ballina Hospital surged more than 50 per cent on New Year’s Day 2017, with a full waiting room, one woman lying on the floor on a blanket vomiting into a bag and another lying on concrete outside in the 38-degree heat.
While some improvements in seating arrangements were announced later that month, it has taken until now for the government to fund a serious make-over of the department.
Announcing some $400,000 in additional works in a media release yesterday, Nationals parliamentary secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said the upgrades will include ‘painting and general repairs to the waiting area as well as enhancements in the treatment area to make a visit to the emergency department a little easier’.
‘We know that a visit to the hospital can be a stressful experience, which is why we’re doing everything we can to make that time a little easier for patients and their families,’ Mr Franklin said.
Ballina District Hospital is currently undergoing a $7.35 million upgrade to various departments, including medical records, surgical and other services.
‘The physical environment in which doctors, nurses and other health professionals work has a major impact on the experience of patients and their families,’ Mr Franklin said.
‘Modern facilities are key to ensuring our clinicians and hospital staff can continue to provide the high-quality health care that our local communities deserve.’
But the announcement still failed to address the issue of staffing and surging patient numbers, such as happened on New Year’s Day 2017.