Mentally ill ‘living’ in hospital corridor
A CORRIDOR in Logan Hospital has been turned into a mental health ward for involuntary patients.
Well placed sources claim that, for up to three days, as many as 12 mental health patients live in the 20m corridor because the 70-odd beds reserved for mental health patients are always full.
They eat their meals in a chair and sleep in a chair, on the floor or in a bed that is wheeled into the hallway.
Former and current staff from the hospital have contacted The Courier-Mail out of "moral obligation" because they want to stop the conditions described by multiple sources as "unsafe", "inhumane" and "degrading".
A Queensland Health spokesman said patients may wait "during the night" in the corridor, but the claim they waited three days was "simply not accurate".
"Emergency Department staff attend to their personal needs and patients are made as comfortable as possible," the spokesman said.
The public corridor, known at the hospital as the "over-census area", is not staffed by mental health nurses but often agency nurses who have no idea what they are walking into.
Restraining distressed patients by injecting them with heavy sedatives, also known as "chemical restraints", is common because at times the nurses have no choice, sources say.
Where locks on doors would be in a normal mental health facility to help keep patients secured safely inside, there are nurses and security guards who are forced to put their bodies on the line.
As a result assaults against staff are not unusual and patients leaving the hospital in the midst of a psychotic episode is unavoidable.
But the health spokesman said safety was a priority.
"Each patient is assessed with regard to risk with appropriate security measures put in place to protect them, staff and other patients," he said.
"All mental health patients at Logan Hospital are triaged and supervised by an emergency nurse."
Nurses Professional Association Queensland spokesman Jack McGuire confirmed they had been approached by stressed nurses.
"It is placing our nurses squarely in the firing line," he said.
"Nurses are risking their personal safety, their registration and ultimately their livelihood every day they turn up to work.
"Nurses get into nursing to save lives, not to act as security guards."
The revelations come after The Courier-Mail revealed yesterday that Brisbane's southside hospitals were so stretched that patients were being "dumped" to wait in hospital corridors in a practice nurses claim is an attempt to mask widespread ambulance ramping and "dodgy" up efficiency data.
Horror situations, such as suicidal teens and heart patients being left alone in hospital hallways, are so commonplace at hospitals across Metro South nurses fear it's only a matter of time before a patient dies.
One whistleblower said a directive to ensure ambulances were not waiting at hospitals during the Commonwealth Games was ongoing and only shifted the bed shortage, leaving patients far more vulnerable.
On Thursday, Princess Alexandra Hospital and QEII network executive director Dr Michael Cleary defended the process.
"The number of people who are managed through this process is less than 1 per cent of the number of patients who are transported by ambulance to the hospital," he said.
When asked three times if there was a bed shortage at the hospital, Dr Cleary said: "We are very well supplied with beds at the moment."
Queensland Ambulance Service Metro South assistant commissioner John Hammond said every patient was treated with empathy and care.
"People who work in the healthcare profession, who are on the frontline, they would probably be quite offended that anyone would make that assumption that we use that terminology of 'dumping' patients," he said.