THE Western NSW Local Health District has refuted claims ambulances are being diverted away from the emergency department at Blayney hospital and taken to Bathurst and Orange.
The Health Services Union previously argued patients have been taken to Bathurst and Orange hospitals in a temporary trial, with a Blayney Shire councillor supporting those claims.
A spokesperson for the WNSWLHD said in a statement that the Blayney Health Service Emergency Department was “not closed to ambulance patients and there is no bypass directive”.
According to the statement, the department is “open 24 hours, seven days a week for medical emergencies and patients are triaged by highly-trained emergency nurses”.
But Blayney Shire councillor Scott Denton said he’d spoken to ambulance officers who insisted the trial was a reality, and he feared Blayney was facing a disaster.
“We’re only one step from someone losing their life,” he said.
“While the paramedics are transferring people to Bathurst or Orange, there’s no one here, and that’s not just bad for Blayney, but it’s dangerous for those in the outer villages like Barry and Neville.”
Cr Denton said the Blayney area was growing and “soon we may have a new mine in the shire”.
Country Labor candidate for the seat of Bathurst Beau Riley said he believed the “emergency department diversion trial” was the next step in a NSW Government plan to downgrade Blayney hospital.
“Local management are currently working with Western NSW LHD on pathways to improve patient care,” a NSW Ambulance spokesperson said in a statement.
“NSW Ambulance has provided authority to local paramedics to make clinical decisions to transport patients to the hospital that best meets the patients’ clinical need, reducing a subsequent inter-hospital transfer.
“There is no direction to bypass one hospital over another where it is not clinically appropriate.”