SA hospital faces pillow shortage as opposition files no confidence motion against health minister – ABC News

SA hospital faces pillow shortage as opposition files no confidence motion against health minister - ABC News

A woman has blown the whistle on pillow shortages in an Adelaide hospital, saying staff were unable to provide her 93-year-old father with one during a wait in the emergency department.

Teresa Sandona said her father’s GP sent them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) emergency department with a referral letter on Monday evening.

Despite overcrowding forcing some people to sit on the waiting room floor, she managed to get her father into a recliner, where they waited for two-and-a-half hours.

“He was complaining a bit about how uncomfortable it was and I asked for a pillow and they said it was a precious commodity here. That was their answer,” Ms Sandona said.

She said there still was no pillow even after her father was moved to an emergency department bed, and staff folded a blanket to put behind his head instead.

A woman wearing glasses looks at the camera
Teresa Sandona says her 93-year-old father was told there were no pillows at the hospital.(ABC News: Evelyn Manfield )

Ms Sandona said the staff did an excellent job, while facing obvious challenges.

“They were done, they were actually done with making excuses for why they didn’t have the resources to provide the best client care. That’s what I saw on their face,” she said.

Ms Sandona said she was speaking out about her father’s treatment because she believed it should not be happening in South Australian hospitals.

“It just tipped me over the edge when there was no pillows, no blankets, no sheets, no chairs. That’s what tipped me over,” she said.

“That’s a basic need that we provide to our community that pay their taxes, that go to these places for help and they don’t get a pillow?”

The opposition has used parliament to launch a no-confidence motion in Health Minister Chris Picton over the pillow shortage, high levels of ramping and the cochlear implant bungle at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

A man wearing a suit and tie inside an old building
Heath Minister Chris Picton says there has been an emergency supply of pillows.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

“This is something that we as an opposition raised some weeks ago that there were concerns we had this obscure, almost quirky pillow shortage in South Australia,” Opposition leader David Speirs said.

“We don’t know how a hospital system which is so complex in its operation could get something so simple so wrong.”

The opposition did not have the numbers in the House of Assembly, so the motion failed. 

The state government said hospital administrations reported that they have sufficient supplies, but it will launch an audit of pillow and blanket stocks following multiple patient complaints.

“What we’ve done very urgently is bring in more supplies today,” Mr Picton said.

“These are basic tenants of care. We need to make sure that patients are able to receive them in the emergency department and in the patient wards.”

Mr Picton said the day Ms Sandona’s father was admitted was the second busiest in the QEH emergency department’s history.

He said work to expand the QEH is well underway.


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