Rural nurses shortage toying with life and death

17039348_1652023508148408_8552342663874861421_oState KAP Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter is calling on the Health Minister to immediately bolster nursing staff levels at the Forsayth Primary Health Centre.

In October Mr Katter tabled in Parliament a community-based petition signed by close to 250 Forsayth area locals (in a town that has a population of 129) calling for more nursing staff.

The petition was prompted after four medical emergencies took place in the isolated region on the same day earlier this year.

“On Friday the 25th of May, 2018, there were four medical emergencies in a matter of a few hours in the Forsayth region,” the petition reads.

“1) Tourist injured and admitted to Georgetown Hospital – RFDS evacuation.

“2) Small child with breathing difficulties, mother drove to Forsayth from a nearby property to find the Forsayth clinic closed, drove to Georgetown clinic which was closed and unattended, returned to Forsayth and later rang Georgetown and after timing breathing over the phone was told to get to the clinic ASAP. Monitors were unavailable for the child as they were being used by the injured tourist.

“3) Grazier needing medical attention.

“4) Female needing urgent medical attention had to drive to Mt Surprise where RFDS clinic was taking place and subsequently flown to Cairns.

“As the Forsayth Hospital was closed due to staff leave, this meant the Georgetown matron was left to deal with these situations on her own.

“One of these incidents required the matron to attend, which meant the Georgetown Hospital was then closed.”

Mr Katter said he had yet to hear a response from Minster for Health Dr Steven Miles regarding the petition, however the answer he received after questioning the Minister about the matter had seen no action.

He said discussions with the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service on the need for atleast one extra full-time nurse in the Forsayth/Georgetown area had also yielded no action.

“Forsayth is a very remote and isolated part of our state but that does not mean those living there should be condemned to sub-par, and at times non-existent, medical and emergency care,” Mr Katter said.

“Forsayth, not just Georgetown, needs to be able to operate as a base for a hospital ambulance and we need another well-trained nurse recruited to deliver that service.

“At different times during the year, there are significant numbers of grey nomads and other tourists passing through the area and these increased numbers are not factored into the Health Department’s data – but these people exist and they
may need urgent medical help too.”

Mr Katter said the Palaszczuk Government has boasted earlier this about hiring 3,500 new nurses throughout Queensland over the next four years.

“It shouldn’t be too much trouble to ensure just one of them is recruited to Forsayth/Georgetown area – the consequences of not doing it could be fatal,” he said.

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