LEETON’S hospital isn’t being served by enough on-call doctors, making it difficult for those who are on the roster to keep up with their “regular” work.
Currently there are only four doctors, supported by four registrars, on the on-call roster for the Leeton District Hospital, with the majority having been on the schedule for many years.
With plenty of other doctors and registrars currently in Leeton, the call has gone out for them to join the roster.
It is not compulsory for doctors in town to be placed on the on-call roster for the hospital, but having more would mean less work all around.
Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom has had discussions with doctors in town, as well as the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) regarding the problem.
The issue as it stands is when the doctors on the on-call roster are unavailable, there is no one else to call.
Patients can still present to the emergency department and be triaged, but the hospital then puts in place what is known as the Clinical Operations Standard Operating Procedure (COSOPS).
Once a patient is assessed by a registered nurse, those requiring any extra care are transferred to the nearest “appropriate” hospital, which councillor Maytom said then puts a strain on those facilities.
“There’s no requirement for a doctor to put their names down on call and they no doubt have their reasons for not wanting too … but what we are trying to do is encourage them to do so,” he said.
“We don’t want to rely on the COSOPS system. It fills the gap, but it’s not the most desired way to go.
“The concern we have with COSOPS is it can put a strain on other services, this includes our ambulances.
“If they are having to transfer a patient … they are tied up delivering that patient out of our area.
“We want to do everything we can to help and encourage other doctors to be part of the roster.”
MLHD was unable to confirm whether the doctors currently on the roster would be available over the Christmas and New Year period.
“The Leeton Emergency Department (ED) will be open 24 hours, seven days for medical emergencies during the holiday period,” MLHD cluster manager Craig McColm said.
“Leeton hospital is continuing efforts to arrange medical cover in the ED over Christmas and New Year and recruitment for the role is underway.”
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