Men and women in cramped conditions, limited bathroom facilities, ripped public seating and a window looking onto a wall greeted a visitor to Dubbo Hospital’s general or G ward earlier this month.
Rundown, outdated and not befitting Dubbo was how Bathurst resident David Abernethy described the ward after visiting it.
“My observations, in comparison to Orange, Bathurst and Parkes hospitals where I have visited recently, make Dubbo’s G ward look like a third-world operation,” he said.
Mr Abernethy suggested the condition of G ward would “fail NSW Health infection control standards and any other health accreditation”. “That’s not a reflection on the staff who do a great job,” he said.
On Thursday, Dubbo Hospital’s director of nursing Jenny Johnson did not respond to Mr Abernethy’s concerns about accreditation, instead pointing to the future expansion and “light refurbishment” of G ward.
“G ward at Dubbo Hospital will expand into the current intensive care unit and receive two ensuite bathrooms once the intensive care unit is relocated into the new facility as part Dubbo Hospital redevelopment stages three and four,” she said.
The next step in the $150 million stage three and four redevelopment is construction of a three-storey building that will feature a “critical care floor”.
Mrs Johnson said the Western NSW Local Health District would undertake a “light refurbishment” of G ward in coming months, involving “some plastering, painting and new blinds”.
“The hospital and local health district are carefully planning the refurbishment works to ensure there are no bed closures during this process,” she said.
Mr Abernethy said he was aware that the hospital was being redeveloped. He argued that hospital facilities in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo should be comparable.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Dubbo and it seems to be the poor cousin,” he said.
Stages one to four redevelopment of Dubbo Hospital are costing more than $241million, with the state and federal governments promising another $35 million to build an integrated cancer centre. The $100 million Bathurst Hospital was accepting patients in 2008 followed by the $250 million Orange Hospital in 2011. The $72.8 million Parkes Hospital opened its doors in 2015.