Port Macquarie Hospital staff attacked in ‘unique incident’, health chief told parliamentary inquiry – Archyde

A parliamentary inquiry in New South Wales has learned details of a violent attack at a regional hospital that allegedly left staff bite wounds, broken bones and concussions.

Representatives from the Mid North Coast Local Health District (LHD) testified at the penultimate hearing of the inquest and were questioned about an incident that occurred at Port Macquarie Hospital in January 2021.

At the time the Health Services Union told the ABC, staff were assaulted by a patient who became violent and aggressive after being rushed to the hospital by police.

Five staff at Port Macquarie Hospital suffered serious injuries in the attack.(delivered)

“I sincerely apologize to those who were injured at the time, but I believe our staff did their best in the early hours of this morning in a very difficult situation,” Mid North Coast LHD chief executive Stewart Dowrick said at the hearing on Tuesday Tuesday.

Labor MP Walt Secord asked Mr Dowrick if he agreed the LHD was one of the “most dangerous” in the state.

“We are operating within state safety guidelines,” Mr. Dowrick replied.

“Last January, five health workers were injured in a very tragic event.

The request was told of changes and improvements the LHD had made, including training and added security, to try to better protect staff and patients in future incidents.

No progress at the hospital

Several submissions to the inquiry raised concerns about the challenges facing medical services in the NSW Blue Mountains and included calls for a new or upgraded hospital.

Community groups have claimed existing facilities in Katoomba and Springwood are outdated and unable to meet the needs of the area’s 80,000 residents.

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The inquiry was told that a commitment was made in 2018 to deliver a new hospital for the Blue Mountains, but a site has not yet been identified.(Supplied: David Fisher)

Kay Hyman, managing director of Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, told the inquiry the project has been identified as a priority for the region.

She said the current Blue Mountains Hospital originated almost 100 years ago and the site has curtailed any further plans for modernization.

Ms Hyman said an alternative site has yet to be identified but is in the planning pipeline.

“We continue to look for this as a priority for us,” Ms Hyman told the inquiry.

“There has not yet been an allocation of funds to a Blue Mountains Hospital.”

The hearing continues.


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