My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health in the other place. The action that I seek is for the minister’s explicit commitment to ensuring that beds and services at Sandringham Hospital will not be cut and instead a commitment to increasing services and capacity at our community hospital.
Having previously raised the prospect of our community’s vital and well-loved hospital facing the loss of eight beds, ward closure and the displacement of seven effective full-time nursing staff in a constituency question on 26 November, an adjournment matter of 28 November, a letter of 6 December and a further letter of 23 December 2019, I am yet to receive any response from the health minister. It is with great sadness and intense frustration that my community has duly noted the health minister’s deafening silence to date. This silence is particularly shocking given that my letter to the minister on 23 December contained dozens of excerpts from my online petition where residents wrote in their own words about why Sandringham Hospital was important to them and why it deserves expansion and greater resourcing.
The Sandringham Hospital was built by the goodwill and dedication of local residents who, some 50 years ago, privately fundraised for its construction. Yet again it is a citizen army of local residents that is fighting for the hospital’s ongoing viability into the future. Some 8500 residents have signed a petition calling for the Andrews Labor government to provide greater investment in Sandringham Hospital.
A whistleblower that works at Sandringham Hospital recently advised me of the following:
… post bed cuts, pressure has been placed on all involved and Alfred (Health) eventually had a ‘nurse floater’ to help all areas within the hospital experiencing high demand. Furthermore, the medical ward was pressured to admit surgical/ortho patients. They don’t generally look after these kind of patients—
said the whistleblower. Put simply, this staff member is strongly suggesting, in my view, that patient safety is being compromised as a direct result of cuts. These are not my words; these are the words of that staff member.
As our population continues to rise and as our population continues to age, we need at the very least to maintain existing health services at Sandringham Hospital and to do everything we can to stop cuts. The Andrews Labor government and the Minister for Health cannot stand idly by and allow our community hospital’s services to be cut.