Elderly are stuck in hospitals waiting to go into nursing homes

Susanna Freymark

There are elderly people in Casino Hospital and other Northern Rivers hospitals waiting to be signed out to go into a nursing home.

To leave the hospital they need a GP to do an assessment and sign them out.

Many can’t find a GP to do this.

It is a terrible Catch-22.

 A Healthy North Coast representative said there had been several GP retirements and some GPs changing to part-time employment, potentially impacting GP services in Casino.

“We are also aware of GPs in the Richmond Valley LGA who are approaching retirement, with recruitment to the region remaining very challenging,” the representative said. 

The impacts of covid and flooding in the region have placed additional strain on services.

Despite the GP shortage, are health authorities doing something about the sign-out issue? We received no definitive answer from the Northern NSW Local Health District or from Healthy North Coast on this but Healthy North Coast did say they were working with the local health district, the Rural Doctors Network and the local GP network to alleviate the situation.

Healthy North Coast is also co-designing with communities and clinicians on longer-term solutions to support improved primary care access. No details were provided to explain what this meant.

Details on commissioning announcements will be available later this year.

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