Page 3639 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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(4) If there are no staff to treat suspected fractures at night time at Calvary Hospital, why don’t staff at Calvary Hospital Emergency Department refer these patients to The Canberra Hospital Emergency Department or Canberra After Hours Locum Medical Service for treatment.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) At Calvary Health Care ACT between the hours of 2230 and 0700 there is no on site Radiographer to perform x-rays that are not considered urgent. By urgent I mean that the x-ray (CT or U/S) is required to make or confirm a potentially life or limb threatening injury and it can not be postponed until after 0700.

In the case of a suspected ankle fracture, the patient’s ankle is assessed for pulses, neurological intactness and degree of pain, deformity and swelling. If the ankle is suspected to be fractured with significant displacement of the fractured bones or dislocated then the x-ray staff are called in at the time to do the x-ray. If the ankle is not significantly swollen, deformed or painful and the foot is neurologically intact and the pulses are present then the patient may safely be discharged home with analgesia and asked to return to the ED the next day for x-ray.

In cases where there is a strong suspicion of a fracture but no deformity and pulses and neurology are all intact then the doctor may elect to place the lower limb in a back slab (half plaster) for pain relief until the x-ray is completed. The patient is still safe to go home.

(2) Yes (see point 1.)

(3) Calvary Health Care ACT provides routine on site radiological services from 0700 to 2230 hours and from 2230 to 0700 urgent cases are provided via an on-call arrangement. Radiological services are provided on an on-call only basis outside of the hours as demand is insufficient for 24 hour on-site services.

(4) As detailed in point 1, it is safe to send these patients home. If the patient requires urgent x-rays then x-ray staff are called in at Calvary.

It is not necessary to transfer these non-urgent patients to TCH ED.

Hospitals—waiting times
(Question No 484)

Mr Smyth asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 18 August 2005:

(1) What would be the normal process followed in assisting a patient who is presented to the Emergency Department of The Canberra Hospital (TCH) by ambulance with serious blood disorders necessitating a hospital stay of several weeks;

(2) Is it clinically acceptable for this patient to wait for over 30 hours to be admitted to a bed;

(3) Is it acceptable practice for hospital staff not to clean or change a patient’s clothes and bedding when they have wet themselves;

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