Mount Druitt Hospital searches for permanent energy solution after blackout during heatwave

CALL FOR ANSWERS: State Mount Druitt MP Edmond Atalla has been a fierce advocate for services at Mount Druitt Hospital. Picture: Geoff Jones

CALL FOR ANSWERS: State Mount Druitt MP Edmond Atalla has been a fierce advocate for services at Mount Druitt Hospital. Picture: Geoff Jones

An investigation is underway to prevent a re-occurrence of a blackout that struck Mount Druitt Hospital during last weekend’s record heatwave.

The hospital reverted to back-up power for two-and-a-half hours on Saturday afternoon when its electricity network crashed.

Mount Druitt Hospital general manager Sue-Anne Redmond said the facility suffered a “disruption” to its power about 4.15pm on February 11.

Even when back-up generators kicked in, they operated with “intermittent” breaks due to the intense heat, which reached 47 degrees in some parts of Sydney’s west.

“Mount Druitt Hospital has implemented an interim measure to reduce complications to our back-up generator and a permanent solution is under investigation,” Ms Redmond said in a statement.

Mount Druitt MP Edmond Atalla, a staunch advocate for the hospital, has called for external investigation into the cause of the outage.

He told the Star the incident put patients at risk and was indicative of a lack of resources.

“The generators came on but they weren’t at capacity to cope,” he said. “Staff were struggling to keep patients cool.

“The health department has tried to keep it quiet. It’s clear they didn’t want to enforce my argument that the hospital is under-funded.

“They hoped they could sweep it under the carpet.”

Federal Chifley MP Ed Husic also called for answers. 

Mr Husic last year accused the state and federal governments of ignoring Mount Druitt Hospital, saying it was treated as a “less than full service” facility.

“As my colleague, Edmond Atalla said, the NSW Liberal Government must explain why this happened,” he said.

“You’d never expect to see this kind of event on a north shore hospital. People’s lives and health may have been put at risk.”

Ms Redmond denied claims that the outage put patients at risk.

“Patient safety was not compromised at any point and patient transfers were not required.

“Staff were committed to keeping patients comfortable during the disruption and continued to offer the highest quality care.”

The Star contacted NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard’s office for comment.

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