Campbelltown Hospital faces staffing crisis: Macarthur paediatrician

Not good enough: Dr Andrew McDonald and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren are concerned about staffing resources at Campbelltown Hospital.

Not good enough: Dr Andrew McDonald and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren are concerned about staffing resources at Campbelltown Hospital.

A renowned Macarthur paediatrician says the region's rapid population growth has placed a significant burden on hospital staff.

Dr Andrew McDonald, a former Macquarie Fields MP, said staffing numbers at the hospital had not kept pace with the population growth.

He said a cure to the dire situation was at least two decades away. 

“It will take another 20 years of graduating doctors to even touch the workforce shortage," Dr McDonald said.

“All hospitals in western Sydney are understaffed and ask any fourth-year medical student where they want to be interns and it will be in the east, as the western Sydney workload scares them off. "

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment predicts the population of Macarthur will more than double by 2036.

Department documents estimate NSW’s population will grow by 2.71 million – with one in every 10 of those new residents residing in Macarthur. 

Dr McDonald said the challenge for Campbelltown Hospital over the next 15 years was not just building the hospital, but also staffing it.

“What we haven’t seen is a commitment from this state government to staff the hospital to levels that are equivalent with the rest of Sydney," he said.

“Simply, when staffing numbers don’t meet demand the care isn’t as good.”

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said Dr McDonald's concerns highlighted the seriousness of the health crisis engulfing the region.

Mr Warren said he had repeatedly called for an increase in staff and services at Campbelltown Hospital due to the rapid growth and the lack of existing services at the hospital.

“Here we have one of the region’s leading paediatricians saying ‘we are at crisis point’ yet the state government refuses to listen," he said.

“The Premier is quick to highlight how much the government is spending on the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment, but she refuses to divulge any real details on future services or staffing numbers.

“Macarthur residents want to see the devil in the detail, not more artist’s impressions."

Mr Warren, the community and local medical professionals are pleading with the state government to establish new services – including a paediatric intensive care unit at Campbelltown Hospital. 

“A big, new hospital is useless unless there are adequate services and staff – but the Premier and her Liberal counterparts can’t guarantee that now, let alone in 20 years time," he said.

“Under this government, seriously sick children still have to travel to Westmead and Randwick for specialist care, paramedics can’t get to critically ill patients on time, and emergency department waiting times continue to fall well below accepted benchmarks.”