Surgery to fix a ten-month-old boy’s cleft palette has been cancelled as the NSW health care system comes under increasing pressure from COVID-19.
The operation is considered elective, but Jensen’s parents are concerned if he can’t have it soon, he will be left behind.
“I’m disappointed that it feels like his situation is not important enough, it’s taken a huge emotional toll on our family going through this journey,” his mum Kate Blackett told 9News.
The Blacketts are one of thousands of families across the state living in limbo after the government suspended non-urgent procedures on January 7.
“Our lives are on hold, I haven’t gone back to work this year, (I’m) waiting for him to have this surgery so I can care for him,” Ms Blackett, who lives in Revesby with her family, said.
The NSW Government has repeatedly reassured the public the hospital and health care systems are coping, but in recent weeks many doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have spoken out about the daily pressures they are facing.
“You know you have a system at breaking point when young children have their surgery cancelled,” Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park said.
Dr Danielle McMullen from the Australian Medical Association’s NSW branch said there need to be changes so that no one is missing out on the care they need.
“The way we make space for COVID and the way we make space for capacity is by pausing other care, and we need to find a different way forward and a way to providing for the whole of the health care system,” she told 9News.
In the second quarter of 2021, nearly 65,000 elective surgeries were performed.
In just three months that number slipped to 44,000 amid restrictions during the Delta lockdown – and with the current measures in place, experts are predicting that number could fall even further.
“When we suspended it, we said we would review it in the middle of February,” Susan Pearce from NSW Health said.
“The next week or two will be critical in making the decision – we will look at the hospital numbers.”
Jensen’s surgery may go ahead at the end of March but nothing is guaranteed.