Dr Anthony Joseph
Clinical Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine
Dr Tony Joseph is the current Chairman of the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) Medical Staff Council (MSC) – a 350-strong staff representative body.
He is the Director of Trauma at RNSH and a staff specialist in the RNSH Emergency Department.
Dedicated to the education of aspiring doctors, Dr Joseph is also closely involved in the University of Sydney Undergraduate Medicine teaching program. He also plays a key clinical supervisory role in RMO (Resident Medical Officer) and Registrar training programs in Emergency Medicine at RNSH.
Dr Joseph helped pioneer the development of Emergency Department ultrasound in Australasia. He also played a key role in the initial development of the Australasian Trauma Society.
Dr Joseph’s thoughts on the NSW Government’s redevelopment plan for RNSH
The RNSH MSC welcomes this long overdue redevelopment of RNSH. However, from the early planning stages, there has been an overwhelming lack of engagement and consultation with the medical staff by NSW Health planners. This has led to many significant flaws in the design of a potentially world class hospital.
There were major problems with both the size and number of operating theatres in the original redevelopment plans that have since been rectified following agitation by senior medical staff. However serious design issues still remain which, if not rectified, will impede the ongoing delivery of an excellent level of patient service and care for which RNSH is renowned. Failing to address these issues now will also prove much more expensive to fix once the redevelopment is complete.
The MSC has three major concerns that require urgent attention.
- The plan to sell off more than 50 per cent of RNSH land is extremely short-sighted, prohibiting the potential for any future expansion of the hospital. The hospital will be hemmed in by tall residential and commercial buildings, and will lack green open space. This land sale will also see the demolition of the original hospital building, which has significant heritage value.
- When the new hospital opens at the end of 2012, it will only offer 14 additional adult medical and surgical beds compared to what is available now at maximum capacity.
Also, the current 70:30 ratio of multiple-to-single bed rooms is inconsistent with modern hospital design, whereby a majority of single bed rooms is the norm in order to control hospital-acquired infections.
- We also have great concerns with the displacement or omission of some services. For example, poor planning and lack of space has also led to the displacement of Mental Health Services from a purpose-built service to a less satisfactory placement in a refurbished building. The Mental Health department needs to be housed in a stand-alone building, in close proximity to the Community Health Building and the Acute Services Building. Many mental health patients have other medical conditions and need ready access to medical and surgical services.
Furthermore, there are many services that are yet to be relocated including Pain Management, Allied Health, Drug and Alcohol and Medical Administration, while other services have been overlooked completely.
Dr Joseph’s position on the implications of the redevelopment plan for the future of healthcare in the Northern Sydney Local Health Network (NSLHN) and NSW residents at large
If the major flaws in this redevelopment are not corrected, the result will be a major referral and teaching hospital operating at maximum capacity from day one, with no room for expansion over its 50 year life cycle. This will have serious implications for all NSW residents.