Why the Tweed Hospital is being ignored for the Gold Coast
THE Tweed Heads hospital is being increasingly bypassed for the Gold Coast University Hospital despite some patients being located just minutes away.
Earlier this month, a man in Tweed Heads West, who was shot in the leg and lived less than 10 minutes from the Tweed Heads Hospital, was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital - more than 40 minutes away.
Other bypass incidents have included several rescues from Mount Warning and patient transfers from regional hospitals.
According to Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter spokesman Jamie Yeo, the decision to transfer patients to the Gold Coast was due to the university hospital's status as a "trauma centre”, which has serious cases automatically skip the Tweed for the Gold Coast.
"Trauma hospitals have to take in patients when they go there, even if they're full,” he said.
The increase in bypasses comes as the Tweed Heads Hospital grows closer to bursting at the seams with several "pop-up” operating theatres and intensive care beds needed to cater for the growing population.
Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council co-chair Dr Mike Lindley-Jones said there was a problem with the hospital bypass system in that "it doesn't discriminate”.
"There is a problem with the system in it doesn't seem to discriminate between various kinds of injuries, there are injuries which could be readily treated at Tweed which bypass the hospital and go straight to the Gold Coast because it's a designated trauma centre,” he said.
Dr Lindley Jones said it was likely trauma patients would be transferred to the new $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital once it was completed.
Northern NSW local Health District spokeswoman Lynne Weir said transfers to the Gold Coast University Hospital were "in the best interest of the patient”.
"Northern NSW Local Health District has well-established reciprocal arrangements in place with nearby hospitals to ensure that patients are transported to the most appropriate facility depending on the level of care they require,” she said.
Ms Weir said patient numbers at the Tweed Hospital continued to increase and upgrade works at the hospital were essential to "continue to meet the healthcare needs of the Tweed-Byron region until the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital is completed in 2022”.