NEW nurses for emergency rooms, free travel costs for pensioners, and gender-based wards are just some of the changes on the cards for Coffs Coast hospitals as part of a major overhaul of public hospitals by NSW Health.
The State Government is pushing an action plan developed in response to the Garling Report, which offered a scathing assessment of the standard of public hospitals.
The plan is reform and the focus is to promote a culture in hospitals where the care and treatment of the patient is at the centre of everything, according to Health Minister John Della Bosca.
“NSW has one of the better public health care systems in the developed world but we need to meet the challenges of the future, including a growing and ageing population,” Mr Della Bosca said.
The government intends to meet the challenge through a range of reforms, including appointing more nurses to emergency departments to improve and fast-track patient care.
Patients in Coffs Coast hospitals could soon be housed in separate gender-based wards, with $12 million allocated to employ extra support staff to help with necessary transfer within wards.
Mr Della Bosca said gender-based wards would provide greater personal privacy, improve dignity for patients and promote more open communication between patients and staff.
Another reform will see eligible pensioners and health care cardholders no longer having to personally contribute to travel costs to get specialist treatment.
“Clearly in remote areas there will always be a need to travel to receive specialised services, such as dialysis, and this can present financial challenges for some communities,” Mr Della Bosca said.