Leeton residents hope Facebook page highlights hospital staff shortages

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Leeton residents are taking to a Facebook page to share their experiences at the local hospital amid lingering concerns about staff shortages at the facility.

The Save Leeton Hospital page has accumulated a number of stories from community members, some of whom wish to remain anonymous, expressing their frustration with the facility.

Maryann Ianelli is one of the administrators on the page and said the lack of a 24-hour medical service was the main issue raised.

“I know we have a lot of local doctors doing their best to be there when they can, but it’s just getting worse and worse,” she said.

Concerns over the lack of doctors in Leeton prompted Ms Ianelli and her husband to drive an hour and a half to the maternity ward at Wagga Wagga Hospital in the middle of the night while in labor.

She said she arrived just in time to have her baby at the hospital.

“Nothing to do with the lack of confidence of our maternity staff … just the idea of ​​not having a doctor available if something went wrong with me or my baby made my husband and I take the risk. [and drive to Wagga Wagga],” she said.

Current staff “need more support”

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Ms Ianelli said the current staff, who were working extremely hard, were not the problem.

Ms Ianelli stressed that there had been no improvement in recent years and hoped the Facebook page would make enough noise to trigger the change.

“It’s pretty intimidating to share your personal stories, whether medical or otherwise, but I think everyone understands the cause,” she said.

“The more people there are talking, the more people there will be who will hopefully speak up, creating that ripple effect.

Community frustration

Amie Fazekas, who lives with epilepsy, was among those who shared her experience on the Facebook page.

Ms Fazekas said she suffered four seizures in a hospital waiting room while waiting to be seen by a doctor.

She said she was ultimately taken to a doctor remotely via a phone as none were available at the hospital.

The doctor on the phone told her to go home.

Amie Fazekas says she suffered four seizures in a hospital waiting room.(

Provided: Amie Fazekas

)

“The doctor on the phone told them to give me a bottle of water… give me my meds and if I could keep them for another 20 minutes then send me home. And that’s what they’ve got. done, ”Ms. Fazekas said.

On another occasion, Ms Fazekas said she was forced to drive her husband out of town after being bitten by a dog, as staff at Leeton Hospital said no one was available to clean up the area. wound and stitch it up.

They said, ‘We don’t have anybody here who can do it, who can watch it, who is qualified to do stitches. You will have to take her to Griffith, ”Ms. Fazekas said.

She said it was disappointing that this “amazing” facility and the nursing staff did not have doctors to support them.

“I just want this to be heard and I just want the staff to know that they are doing an amazing job and that it is not their responsibility,” Ms. Fazekas said.

Health service says staffing is ‘a priority’

In a statement, the local health district of Murrumbidgee welcomed the comments and said the workforce was a priority for Leeton Hospital.

“Our dedicated recruiting team is working on new and innovative ways to attract staff to our region in a highly competitive market,” said a spokesperson.

“In the meantime, back-up support is being provided to reduce the hospital workload for local general practitioners (GP-VMOs) who are currently admitting and treating patients at Leeton Hospital, and participating in a on-call list for emergency services .”


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