I received an email the other day from a very concerned staff member at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane (Australia).
Would any other nurses like to confirm this situation, report similar situations in their own hospitals or add any feelings around it?
And what of the ‘traditional’ Christmas bed closures we see in most hospitals this time of year….do you have any thoughts about any consequences to our patients of that activity?
Here is a quote from the email:
[I currently work at the] Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. We were informed Monday that due to federal government monies owed by the Qld Gov for miscalculating population increase, $100 mill has to be repaid, of which PAH has to pay $9.3 mill by June 2013.
PAH is closing 4 ICU beds and we have to cut or deploy approx 23 FTE, which equates to about 40 nursing staff.
Also, 5 spinal beds are being closed, wards in GARU (geriatric rehab and waiting area for nursing home placements) are being closed, ? 12 med/surg beds are being closed, plus other cuts.
Main issues off the top of my head are:
Bed block: With GARU wards closing , elderly patients awaiting nursing home placement will remain in the wards, taking up acute beds. This will affect ICU and the 3x HDU departments as we will not be able to discharge wardable patients. it will effect ED as they will not be able to get patients into a ward bed. Obviously in turn this will affect QAS in ramping times.
With Spinal closing beds (unknown if this is HDU and rehab, or just rehab) bed block will also occur, affecting ICU, Trauma HDU and orthopaedics. We have tetraplegic patients languishing in ICU at times, who are well and truly ready to start their rehab, but are unable to have a bed in Spinal.
The hospital already has significant bed block. Last week many wards had negative bed availability, and ED had a number of patients awaiting a ward bed. ICU also had a number of patients unable to be discharged to various wards.
Don’t go being involved in a major trauma, or getting seriously ill in the next 6 months, there won’t be a bed for you!
By closing 4 beds, we need to offload approximately 40 staff.
We have been told that anyone to go will have jobs in the hospital, & that whoever is selected to go will be seconded to another area in the hospital, without a choice. Whether this will be done in 2 or 3 month rotating blocks, or as a permanent pool we don’t know. And then what happens at the end of June (which is the date that money is to be repaid by), do those of us seconded still have an ICU position?