| 09.07,09. 02:15 AM |
Plotting to take knife to surgery at Mt Druitt hospital
July 09, 2009 12:00am
A SECRET government report is calling for emergency surgery to be scrapped at a western Sydney hospital in a bid to slash costs.
An independent review into Mt Druitt hospital, commissioned by the State Government, recommended its emergency department stay open.
But the report called for out-of-hours surgery to be scrapped to save money.
Patients would instead be transferred to Blacktown or Nepean hospitals, which are already unable to cope with growing surgery lists.
At the same time a state Labor MP has broken ranks and lashed out at his own party, and said people in Blacktown were dying waiting for operations.
Renegade MP Paul Gibson has broken his silence on the state of Blacktown hospital, where there are not enough doctors or resources to provide for endoscopy services, which can detect cancer and other diseases.
Surgeons have warned waiting lists would blow out to 2000 people by mid-next year. They warned, of those, up to 40 would either contract cancer or die.
Mr Gibson said people's lives were at risk because of a cost-cutting decision to axe an endoscopy service at Auburn hospital, which treated the overflow of patients from Blacktown.
"I can no longer be silent about what is happening at this hospital," he said.
"In some cases people are dying, and they should not be in that situation.
"This above politics. We are talking about a life-and-death matter."
Sydney West Area Health Service, which manages both hospitals, said in a statement yesterday it was trying to reduce the waiting list.
The review into Mt Druitt hospital by senior surgeon Bruce Waxman has been in the hands of the Government for several weeks but has not been released to the public.
It found the emergency department should be maintained and upgraded - a move that goes against the Government's original plan.
The report also recommended the hospital become a hub for elective surgery, open a fourth operating theatre that has sat empty since the hospital opened in 1982, and recruit senior staff.
"We believe the closure of Mt Druitt hospital (emergency department) . . would create enormous case load pressure on Blacktown, Westmead and Nepean," the report said.