Westmead hospital running out of water

    Posted: Tuesday, 20 September 2011 | By: John Robertson ,Andrew McDonald

    Health Minister Jillian Skinner must immediately inform the public why Westmead Hospital has been out of running water since 1.30pm – and guarantee that patient care will not be compromised as this serious situation unfolds over coming hours, Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

    "Westmead Hospital, the biggest hospital in Sydney, has confirmed its water supply has been down since lunch-time," Mr Robertson said.

    "The clinical implications of this are serious – no running water means doctors unable to regularly wash their hands and emergency procedures either delayed or transferred.

    "Where is Jillian Skinner? She is missing in action when the public needs urgent health information. As the Minister dawdles and leaves a trail of public confusion, lives are literally on the line.

    "If a family in Western Sydney has a medical emergency tonight, should they have confidence they can go to Westmead? What about a woman who is heavily pregnant? If a car crash occurs tonight on the M4 at Parramatta, will the victims be admitted at Westmead Accident and Emergency?

    "A hospital without running water might be expected in some Third World country. It should never have happened at Westmead. The fact this story was broken on the evening news simply isn't good enough. Minister Skinner should have informed the public as soon as she was told.

    "Where has the Minister been all day? What event was more important on her schedule than telling the people of NSW that Westmead Hospital had no water? The last thing NSW needs is another O'Farrell Government cover up."

    Shadow Minister for Health Dr Andrew McDonald said the major risk of no running water at a hospital was cross-infection.

    "Hospital-acquired infections are a major issue in NSW – and regular hand-washing by surgeons, doctors and nurses is the most important component of infection control," Dr McDonald said.

    "If you can't wash your hands, it's very hard to provide quality health care. We cannot afford this sort of lapse again on Minister Skinner's watch.

    "I wish to extend my gratitude to staff at Westmead Hospital who have done their best today in the face of very trying circumstances that should never have occurred."

    Tags: Westmead Hospital, Andrew McDonald, health, hospitals, Jillian Skinner, John Robertson, water, Western Sydney

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