Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rushworth hospital no-emergency zone

Rushworth's hospital does not have the staff and resources to treat people in a medical emergency.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK December 27, 2013 4:29am

Waranga Memorial Hospital Rushworth do not have an emergency departmentDebbie Rogers, Director of Nursing Waranga Hospital

Holidaymakers are being warned Rushworth’s hospital does not have the facilities to treat people in a medical emergency.

Patients must travel 56km to Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Base Hospital to receive treatment in the event of an emergency, Waranga Hospital nursing director Debbie Rogers said.

Mrs Rogers said the Rushworth facility lacked the staff and resources to treat emergency patients.

She said it had no in-house medical staff, instead relying on its six general practitioners who were available only from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

She said the hospital was also locked down from 5pm every day for security reasons.

In August, ‘‘no emergency care’’ signs were placed at the hospital’s entrances and Campaspe Shire Council removed road signs marked ‘‘hospital’’, fearing it gave residents a false idea of what Waranga’s facilities were.

Mrs Rogers recommended people called an ambulance in the event of an emergency, rather than wasting time driving to the hospital that could not treat them.

She said there had been instances where people had arrived at the hospital believing there was an emergency department on-site.

Staff then needed to call an ambulance, which wasted crucial time.

‘‘The risk people take is that they delay their own treatment time by presenting at (Waranga) hospital first,’’ Mrs Rogers said.

‘‘Treatment would be much quicker and more effective if people planned to get picked up by an ambulance from home.’’

Mrs Rogers said there were no plans to introduce emergency facilities at the hospital.

She said where possible, Rushworth residents and visitors should visit a GP as soon as illness presented, instead of waiting until their condition was more serious.

She also said families should always plan to call triple 000 and have an ambulance drive them to Shepparton.

‘‘Coming up to Christmas, we have a lot of visitors and holidaymakers because of the (Waranga) basin and they might not realise (the limited facilities),’’ Mrs Rogers said.

‘‘But being in a small town, you need to think of these things. Just like you would plan for a fire, you need to plan for a medical emergency.’’

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