Flu season brings Sydney’s hospitals to crisis point

NSW is on track to have one of its worst flu years on record. It is essential therefore that hospitals are able to cope with the seemingly inevitable increase in ill patients.

Struggles to keep up with demand

However, it has recently become clear that some of Sydney’s hospitals are struggling to keep up with the increased patient demand. In particular, hospitals such as Liverpool Hospital, Fairfield Hospital and Bankstown Hospital are struggling to cope with the inundation of patients requiring treatment for flu-like symptoms. This is particularly concerning for an area whose population is growing rapidly.

Ambulance response time

The inability to cope with patient demand is multi-faceted. The average ambulance response time is currently more than 22 minutes. When the ambulance eventually arrives at hospital, patients are spending considerable time waiting outside the emergency department before a bed becomes available. Many patients are also being discharged earlier than usual to make way for other patients.

These delays present significant problems for the medical industry. The increased ambulance response times mean that ill patients at homes and other locations are not receiving the immediate care that they require in cases of emergencies. The delay in receiving a bed at emergency departments has the potential to delay the commencement of more intensive treatment that cannot be offered in an ambulance. The early discharge of patients who require more care can cause more patients to require re-admission due to ongoing flu-like symptoms.

Without sufficient resources in hospitals, it is likely that many patients will not receive the care they require. The slow ambulance response times and lack of beds in hospitals leave open the possibility of negligent treatment by doctors and hospital staff who are already working at full capacity. Unless these problems are addressed, patients may be exposed to negligent treatment which in turn can lead to negative short-term and long-term outcomes for all concerned.

Get in touch with us

At Turner Freeman we have lawyers who specialise in medical negligence claims. Our Sydney partner, Sally Gleeson, has a dedicated practice in medical law. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence, including a situation in which you, or someone you know, has suffered an adverse result after a potentially avoidable infection, we encourage you to call us on 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts today.