NSW Labor leader Chris Minns shares experience in Sydney emergency rooms

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NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns said he wanted to ‘see for myself’ what is going on in Sydney emergency rooms facing unprecedented pressure.

NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns has been doing the rounds of Western Sydney’s emergency departments over the weekend.

He said he needed to see for himself the crisis in the cities’ major hospitals as they face unprecedented pressure as Covid-19 cases surge.

“I wanted to see it for myself,” Mr Minns told 2GB’s Chris Smith on Sunday.

The opposition leader visited Blacktown Hospital on Friday night and spoke to people waiting hours for emergency care.

“I tried to speak to the health care workers too, but obviously as you would know, they are busy,” he said.

On Saturday night, Minns sat in the emergency room of Westmead Hospital and recorded himself describing the scene before him.

“There’s a full house on a Saturday night and lots of people waiting a long time,” he said in an audio recording posted to his Instagram just after 8pm.

“A few people I’ve spoken to already say it’s gonna (sic) be a long wait this evening.

“It’s another example of how under stress and under strain our emergency departments are right across NSW at the moment.”

One in five patients waited at least half an hour in the back of an ambulance after they arrived at an emergency department in NSW, the Bureau of Health Statistics reported from January to March 2022.

“That number is pretty bad also for Western Sydney where seven in ten critical care patients not being seen on time,” he said.

“Our frontline public service are doing it tough and they are working around the clock but Saturday night, busy public hospital, middle of Western Sydney – it’s under real pressure.”

More than 55,000 people left emergency without getting any treatment – more than any quarter since 2010.

Meanwhile, one in 10 people spent longer than 18 hours and 29 minutes in emergency.

“You put a Covid pandemic on top of a terrible flu season, on top of a public frontline health system that’s under severe pressure and needs resourcing,” Mr Minns said.

“It’s a recipe for real stress and strain.”

The opposition leader called to question the Liberal government’s $4b investment to recruit 7,000 frontline healthcare workers in the next 12 months.

“The problem with that is, there’s labour shortages right across the economy … the chance of them recruiting that many people in that short a time is virtually nil,” he said.

“I really feel for nurses, frontline health workers and paramedics who are working their tail off and have done for the last two years.

“They are just getting no respite and seemingly not the support they need from the NSW government.”

Originally published as NSW Labor leader Chris Minns takes a first-hand look at Sydney’s healthcare crisis


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