Over six months into the year of 2017, Barwon Health Emergency is still struggling with the provision of emergency beds to patients.
Jodie Moss had to take her teenage daughter who had a very high temperature to hospital at midnight. “Two hours wait was what I got told when I took my daughter to Barwon Health Emergency Department one night. I still remember how shocked I was when the staff at the front told me,” Ms Moss said.
When Ms Moss asked why there was such a long wait, she said she was told: “there isn’t enough patient beds at this stage”.
Barwon Health Emergency Department had received $40 million extra funding to keep up with the demand on services.
General Practitioner Dr Reno Riandito said he tried to help patients as much as he could before sending them off to emergency because he knew how long the waits could, be especially if they don’t have private health insurance.
“The waiting time at emergency departments varies depending on the urgency. Without a GP’s referral, wait time can be anything from 3 to 5 hours if you go direct” he said.
Public posts on social media have increased with the Barwon Health Facebook page putting up posts such as ‘The University Hospital Geelong Emergency Department is busy … people with less urgent conditions may face long wait times’.
General Practitioners have been made aware of this message, with Dr Reno saying: “If it’s an emergency I call the ambulance first, the emergency department and then send off the referral which includes the urgency category” he says.
In the past financial year the emergency department had roughly 70,000 patients attending for medical help, with physical and mental health being the most common issue for those 70,000 patients.
“Having more beds in the Emergency Department is certainly something I, as well as everyone else in Geelong, would have a positive reaction too. We need it, we can’t have sick patients who need to lie down, just sitting on a chair for hours, it’ll just make them worse” Ms Moss said.
Almost 200 major trauma cases were reported in the past year, with roughly half being treated in Geelong whilst the other half were transferred to Melbourne.
As Geelong is a growing community, Barwon Health has stated the extra funding is vital for Geelong’s expanding and ageing population.