Sydney hospitals could be on the receiving end of more medical negligence claims, as mothers highlight gaps in intensive care for newborns.
A 7News investigation revealed the city’s healthcare providers are struggling to find space for mums and babies, with overcrowding considered a serious problem.
Following a freedom of information request, the media outlet revealed Westmead Children’s hospital is operating at 240 per cent infant bed capacity, while Royal Prince Alfred is at 130 per cent. Liverpool Hospital is also overstretched at 104 per cent.
The impact of shortages
Mother Taliesha Beaver described the problems she had after going into labour prematurely when her twins Shylah and Skylah were born. Originally, she went to the Royal Hospital for Women, but was told there were no humidicribs available at the facility.
“They called Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne,” she stated. “I’m in labour and [they’re] telling me ‘there’s no beds’, why isn’t something being done?”
Eventually, Ms Beaver was admitted to Royal North Shore, but said she was glad she was not forced to fly to a hospital further away. A Sydney woman was not so lucky in 2012, having to catch a flight to Brisbane to give birth to triplets.
“The government promised there would be better and kinder healthcare, but in government we see the opposite,” Opposition Health spokesman Walt Secord said.
Commenting on bed availability for infants in Sydney hospitals, Health Minister Jillian Skinner underplayed the issue.
She said: “I’d say to people that we’re monitoring it, if we believe there is extra demand we invest in them.”
NSW hospital performance
Recent statistics from the Bureau of Health revealed that while many patients are satisfied with their level of care received when visiting hospitals in NSW, there are areas for improvement.
For example, only 42 per cent of people said they were able to get a member of staff to assist them within a reasonable timeframe all of the time. Eleven per cent claimed workers were only available occasionally.
Similarly, 34 per cent of patients feel the amount of time they had to wait in the emergency room was too long. According to the data, 6 per cent of people also experienced an infection during their stay or soon afterwards.
However, in instances where a patient feels they were the victim of medical negligence, making a compensation claim could be an option.
Medical practitioners in NSW have a duty of care to the individuals they treat, and if you feel there has been a breach, you should contact a compensation lawyer in Sydney for more information.