AN untrained "wardie" at a Queensland hospital was forced to jump in and help a nurse perform CPR on an emergency department patient who died, a whistleblower has revealed.

Queensland Health yesterday confirmed it was investigating the incident that happened on Friday afternoon at Ipswich Hospital.

It is believed the orderly, whose duties are to clean and transport patients, was the only staff member available at the ED cubicle to take over from the nurse who was exhausted from doing life saving compressions.

Wardies or orderlies are no longer trained in CPR or clinical procedures as part of their job and the incident has left health workers questioning why it happened.

The Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle said that no health worker should be expected to perform clinical duties outside of their skill level and training.

"The QNMU understands untrained staff are not routinely called upon to perform medical procedures," she said.

The man called on by the nurse to help perform CPR was among the most recent intake of employees in operations at the hospital and he was left traumatised by the event.

But Queensland Health told The Courier-Mail that it is "standard procedure for wards people to form part of trauma response teams to assist with equipment and movement of a patient as directed by clinicians".

The Australian Workers Union has also launched an urgent investigation into the incident after the staff involved reported it at the weekend.

AWU Queensland Branch Secretary Steve Baker said the union expected the Ipswich Hospital and Queensland Health to treat the matter "with the seriousness it deserves".

"We know our wardies perform an absolutely essential job and we are constantly working to get them the support they need on the frontline" Mr Barker said.

A hospital staff member told The Courier-Mail that wardies have also been told to attach oxygen tubes to patients.

"These are high risk jobs for an untrained person," he said.

"Wardies are left traumatised by incidents like what happened on Friday. I believe it was a lack of nursing staff and the poor wardie was the only other person near the nurse. It's a strenuous job doing CPR and it's fair enough that the nurse would need help but wardies are not qualified in any clinical procedures."

But Ms Mohle said she was not aware of any current workload grievances at the Ipswich Emergency Department. And Queensland Health said staffing levels are appropriate.



Originally published as 'High risk': Untrained 'wardie' had to do CPR on patient