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Community rallies to fix hospital heartbreak 12 months after opening

Nothing brings a country town out like concern for its health service.

Five hundred people packed into the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre tonight (March 9) following the snap sacking of orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Chris Phoon.

Dr Phoon’s 3-year contract at the South East Regional Hospital (SERH) in Bega has not been renewed, despite, as the community was told tonight, an excellent appraisal from his managers just three months prior.

Reading from the appraisal report, long-standing orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Matthew Nott pointed to the four and five-star rating Dr Phoon received across a range of indicators from the then Health Service General Manager and the then Director of Medical Services. “He is ranked as either good or excellent in effective management and treatment of patients, maintenance of clinical skills and expertise, participation in clinical governance, in clinical outcomes, maintenance of patient records, in effective communication with patients, collegiate and cooperative relations with other medical and non-medical staff…the list goes on,” Dr Nott says At a loss to explain Dr Phoon’s treatment under different managers given the glowing appraisal, Dr Nott could only suggest that the 38-year-old was being silenced for his advocacy around better hospital systems and patient outcomes. You can continue to read Ian Campbell's excellent account of the meeting in Bega last night on his About Regional website

Above: A vote to extend the contract of Dr Phoon - Photo Ian Campbell

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