Shadow Minister for Health, Bill Yan, says it is shameful that a Code Yellow critical bed and staff shortage has been declared at Royal Darwin Hospital and Palmerston Regional Hospital – but Territorian had to find out through leaks to the media.
“This Code Yellow declaration comes as little surprise given the dire state of the NT health system, and follows years of neglect from this incompetent Gunner Labor Government. Media reports that the Health Minister wasn’t aware of the declaration, or the letter sent to staff outlining the changes, further proves the Minister’s incompetence.
“The Health Minister has bungled the remote vaccine rollout, crippled the Territory’s health system and has no idea what’s going on in her own department.
“On top of that, Minister Fyles has ignored calls from the Territory’s peak health bodies to acknowledge the crushing pressure our health system is under – exacerbated by Labor’s failure to manage the COVID outbreak – by refusing to call a Code Brown. That is the highest emergency response that can be declared in a public hospital.
“The Chief Minister said calling a Code Brown would be symbolic – but the reality is, the Gunner Government’s handling of the health crisis is shambolic.
“A Code Brown is the most extreme action that can be enacted, and doctors and nurses have been forced to call for this measure because of the Gunner Labor Government’s ignorant mantra of “we have everything under control”. Labor is lying to Territorians.
“The first Code Yellow of the COVID crisis was declared at Royal Darwin Hospital just one year and 10 days ago. There have been a total of five Code Yellows declared at Royal Darwin Hospital in that period, which means RDH is operating at 140% capacity, according the Australian Medical Association NT. Four of those Code Yellows were before the COVID outbreak.
“Yesterday, the President of the AMA revealed a clinician told him that half his staff were furloughed – and he wanted to catch COVID so he could take a break. Our health staff are at breaking point with no reprieve in sight.
“The CLP supports ongoing permanent healthcare positions, rather than fixed term contracts, so that health professionals looking to relocate can have job security. We are focused on combatting the disastrous upward trends of alcohol-related harm and violence, which puts further pressure on our health system. We would also ensure the allocation of Federal funding is spent in the critical areas of primary health care, mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, and used to employ more nurses and support our remote health clinics.
“We certainly wouldn’t spend $130 million on Rapid Antigen Tests.
“To manage the longer-term health needs of Territorians, the CLP would reverse the Health Department’s major restructure to combine the Top End and Central Australia health services, which has essentially scrapped local health decision-making. “The Gunner Labor Government would be able to afford these crucial health services and have more money to spend on frontline health workers and essential equipment if Michael Gunner hadn’t maxed out the credit card on pet projects like the $12 million dodgy grandstand deal, and the $35 million payouts to teenage criminals,” said Mr Yan.