Hospital stairwell unhealthy

FIRST you couldn't take the lift at Lismore Base Hospital - now there are complaints the hospital's stairs pose a risk to patients and children.

The Northern Star has been contacted by a community member warning of a dangerously large gap between the stairwell's railing and upright.

The gap is the same on all of the hospital's floors.

However, hospital management have blocked off the gap on the children's ward level.

The gap is 30cm wide - big enough for a small child to slip through.

However, it still fits within Australian building standards, which allow for a 45cm gap.

It's understood parents and staff have told hospital management the stairwell was an "accident waiting to happen".

Traffic on the stairwell can get fairly heavy, especially given the hospital's record with its aged lifts.

Traffic reportedly increased last year after one of the lifts broke down and another stopped working in 2010.

A Northern NSW Local Health District spokeswoman said at the time of construction, the stairwell was compliant with building code of conducts.

"Lismore Base Hospital Management and the Northern NSW Local Health District Capital Works Department are examining options to make changes to the A Block stairwell," she said.

The spokeswoman said funding for the new A block lift was approved and ordered last year.

"Installation will commence once the lift is received. It is anticipated that this new lift will become operational by around the middle of the year."