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Member for Bega – Andrew Constance Statement re Bega orthopaedic services


I am sorry I can't attend tonight’s meeting as the Parliament is sitting today in Sydney and the plane flight doesn't allow me to arrive home in time.

I want to recognise Matthew Knott for bringing our community together to voice concerns about the new regional hospital.

I have been working behind the scenes to resolve two fundamental issues as it relates to the orthopaedic services at the hospital. Firstly, the private contractual arrangements surrounding Dr Phoon; and secondly the handling of settlement package and pay dispute issues in the district which has may have resulted in additional locum costs.

There is no doubt that the new hospital has had teething problems including the uncertainty surrounding the key hospital administrator. I am pleased to say has now been resolved with the recent appointment of Wendy Hubbard, the new General Manager of Bega Valley Health Services. I also am advised that a mechanism to deal with matters between medical staff and management is also being resolved as a priority.

Over the last three weeks, Dr Chris Phoon has been in constant communication with the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard surrounding his contract renewal. Following this, the Local Health District and representatives from the Ministry of Health Work Place Relations held discussions with Dr Phoon at 2pm today (9/03/17) in relation to extending his contract. I hope this meeting is a step forward for all parties, but particularly our community.

Given the circumstances of the dispute involving surgeons, it is my strong view that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, who are independent of the Government, undertake a review of orthopaedic services in the Local Health District. This is hopefully now in train.

While Minister Hazzard has intervened in these local matters, it is important to remember that a Minister’s job is not to appoint, or advise on the appointment of, medical practitioners. However in this case, the Minister has urgently sort to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

I am hopeful that the Minister’s intervention will help secure the positions of all the Doctors required in the interest of our community.

I invite any concerned patients to please contact my office or my staff that are present tonight so that we can assist with your concerns.

I hope very soon that there will be a resolution for our local community and the wonderful doctors, nurses and medical staff that operate the brand new hospital that we all fought so hard to build.


Andrew Constance

Member for Bega


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