Yorke feeling the brunt of doctor shortages  

27 September 2021

Yorke Peninsula nurses are distraught and extremely stressed at the lack of doctors and staffing shortages at Maitland Hospital and other local hospitals.   

There have been numerous occasions this year in the Yorke Peninsula when hospitals and emergency departments have been left with no doctors on site or even on call.

Staff are very concerned for the safety of patients given the lack of doctors and the fatigue created by nurses having to working overtime or double shifts to pick up the shortfall.

They are also angry about the lack of communication from management who have at times been absent or difficult to contact when urgent issues arise.

“Nurses in the Yorke Peninsula have on many occasions been left to run emergency departments with the help of only telehealth services and paramedics,’’ ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM told the Yorke Peninsula Country Times.

“Maitland Hospital continues to run without a doctor. We understand management was actively trying to seek a locum for the rest of today until 7am Tuesday. Last week the problem was so bad patients were unable to be discharged.

“The absence of doctors places enormous pressure on nurses who rely on doctors and management to provide guidance in areas beyond their level of expertise. As dedicated and skilled as our nurses are, they should not be left to fend for themselves and their patients in an environment as unpredictable as an emergency department.  

“Doctor shortages in regional areas continue to place enormous stress on regional and remote medical services and we call on the State Government to provide greater incentives to attract more doctors to areas such as the Yorke Peninsula,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“Any government’s overarching priority should always be the health and safety of the community they serve. Sadly, we are not seeing that happen in South Australia.’’