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Bega hospital impasse remains and patients are all the poorer

Dear Beagle Editor Ten days ago, around 500 south coast residents attended a public meeting at the Bega Civic Centre to express their total support for the magnificent team of orthopaedic surgeons who, up until recently, had diligently served the interests of this regional community. The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association believes that most of the people at that meeting would have thought that their massed voice in such a small community would have been enough to ensure that the impasse between hospital management & the surgeons would have been swiftly resolved. Certainly most went on their way with that belief. Ten days later, with the NSW Minister for Health proudly announcing that a "wide ranging inquiry" into the operation of the hospital is to be undertaken, with the report to be handed to the government by the end of April, word is that there are still no discussions taking place between hospital management & the surgeons in an attempt to get them back to work. It would seem that hospital management remains stubbornly & wilfully determined to crush the surgeons in a cruel, vindictive & self-serving demonstration of its venomous power, even though its negligence negatively impacts the health of hundreds of patients who cannot access the health care that they are legitimately entitled to expect. The Minister for Health says "We need to get to the point where everyone feels really confident that the doctors, nurses, ancillary staff, community & the local health district are all singing off the same page when it comes to getting the best outcomes for patients." Well Minister, we don't know how you expect that to happen when management won't talk to the surgeons & they are still not at work? It has been said that the cumbersome & ineffective locum service that hospital management has put in-place is costing taxpayers as much as $15,000 a day. This failed & disgraceful waste of scarce public funds is only necessary because the hospital management is out of control & operates under a dysfunctional health management structure. In all of this, the single most important party - the patients - have been cast aside & largely left to fend for themselves. It is a disgrace that this is the best that our so-called "professional" health service can do. The association would argue that we as a society would not expect an inquiry to be completed into the cause of an accident before we treated its victims. So why would we not adopt the same approach with our dysfunctional hospital? Why would hospital management, the local health board & our politicians not be doing everything they could to restore the local orthopedic services using the local surgeons to treat their own patients as a top priority to address the crisis at the SERH while their inquiries are being undertaken? Surely the only answer to that question is that they don't regard the health needs of hospital patients as their number one priority or responsibility. It is the view of the association that only widespread public calls for the firing of the hospital CEO, the local health board, Andrew Constance & Brad Hazard will create the "burning platform" necessary to compel real & lasting reform of our rotten health system. John Richardson Secretary/Treasurer Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association

#Community #latest #Opinion #Weekly #Bega

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