Director defends staff levels

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Katanning Hospital’s regional director says 35 doctors are contracted to provide a range of services.
Camera IconKatanning Hospital’s regional director says 35 doctors are contracted to provide a range of services.

WA Country Health Service has defended Katanning Hospital’s capacity to service the community and has given assurance that the district hospital is appropriately staffed.

Regional director David Naughton said there were more than 150 staff employed at Katanning district hospital, including 35 doctors contracted to provide a range of services at the hospital.

“Our emergency department is further supported by Emergency Telehealth Services — connecting our on-the-ground staff to specialists at metro sites when required,” he said.

“Those who require care through our ED will always receive it.”

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However, one Katanning resident said her elderly mother who had been diagnosed with a chronic disease failed to receive immediate treatment at the hospital’s emergency department in September.

The resident, who would like to remain anonymous, said she took her mother to the Katanning Hospital ED around 5pm but was told to come back at 8pm because there were no doctors available to treat her.

“The staff there are really helpful, but because they weren’t a doctor, they couldn’t diagnose and provide any treatment for her,” she said.

“Had she been seriously ill at the time, the outcome could have been different because of the chronic disease that she does have.”

When asked how many doctors in Katanning Hospital were rostered on each shift, WA Country Health Service did not provide this particular detail.

Mr Naughton said there were approximately 22 nurses working across various areas of the hospital on a 24/7 basis. “This is supported by our GP on-call arrangements for all wards and the emergency department year round,” he said.

The resident who asked not to be named said she would like to see the State Government appropriately staff Katanning Hospital, which looked after the medical needs of more than 5000 population in the Great Southern region.

“Living out in the region and not having access to an emergency department that is properly staffed could lead to life-threatening situation for some,” she said.

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