Hunter Health to boost staff levels at John Hunter cystic fibrosis clinic

Hunter New England Health says it will work closely with Cystic Fibrosis Australia to ensure the medical needs of local sufferers can be met, now that a Sydney hospital has closed its books to new patients.

Cystic Fibrosis Australia says critical staff shortages have prompted Westmead Hospital to stop accepting new referrals.

That has sparked fears the state’s two remaining clinics at the John Hunter and Prince Alfred hospitals will be forced to pick up the slack.

Director of respiratory services at the John Hunter, Professor Michael Hensley, said he is working to improve the local service.

He said the Newcastle unit has a clear, peer-reviewed plan to ensure the needs of cystic fibrosis patients can be met.

A new cystic fibrosis model of care will be put out for consultation later this year.

He said a clinical nurse specialist will be allocated specifically to the care of adult CF patients, as well as a respiratory staff specialist.

In addition, existing allied health services including physiotherapy, social work, dietetics and psychology are set to be enhanced.

He said he is also working to allocate a pharmacist to the program.