Welcome to this week’s editorial, With the rapid growth of the region and the simple fact that our median age of 59 years old is one of the oldest in the State of NSW it makes absolute sense to look very closely at what medical facilities we have and what we need to be considering for the future. On October 6th there will be an open community meeting at the Moruya Golf Club that will be raising the very question that we need to rally around the building of ONE Regional hospital that will take the Eurobodalla forward. This week we published a letter to the editor from Dr Michael Holland, a Moruya doctor and a campaigner for a single well appointed hospital that will accommodate the present and future needs of our region.
To the Editor
The equitable provision of medical services to our community is a complex and expensive responsibility for our governments.
Locally this requires equal access to care for the population from south of Narooma to Batemans Bay in the north without costly and clinically inefficient duplication of services.
The recent argument concerning the need for a second CT scanner at Batemans Bay Hospital and now a second MRI machine is a divisive and diversionary strategy by both political parties which ignores the genuine problems and solutions for the future improvement in the local hospital system.
The demand for a second CT scanner and a second MRI machine is a one dimensional and clinically flawed tactic to restrain further medical development in the Eurobodalla. It is a bandaid solution to a problem that requires rational clinical investigation, diagnosis and treatment. Large areas of rural NSW work highly effectively using a hub and spoke model of services and utilising modern and efficient teleconferencing services. As far as stroke services are concerned there already exists evidence in the Hunter New England region which does not rely on CT scanners in hospitals twenty minutes apart.
A new state of the art MRI machine would cost at least $3 million plus the expense of housing the new unit. How many nurses could be employed with $3 million?
I ask the people of the Eurobodalla to look at the map of New South Wales. Drive from the Queensland border to the Victorian border and see if there are any models of health service that rely on two hospitals twenty minutes apart. In fact there are large regional hospitals approximately every two hours until the Shoalhaven after which the Eurobodalla is overlooked until Bega.
Drive to the south and inspect the new South East Regional Hospital and consider the potential improvement to the level and quality of services if a single regional Eurobodalla hospital was developed.
The combined numbers of services at Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals are equal to or outnumber those of established regional or base hospitals.
There is no possibility of increased service capabilities or role delineation for either hospital without a combination of resources. Without an increase in these resources there will be no ability to attract specialist medical, surgical, anaesthetic or nursing practitioners.
This pork barrelling is populist medicopolitical polemic which will further delay long term expansion of health services to the entire Eurobodalla population.
There needs to be a rational debate on this serious and complex issue with representation from our local politicians in order to steer the Eurobodalla health services from parochialism to something for the greater good of the region.
Members of the Eurobodalla community are currently active in supporting the development of One New Eurobodalla Hospital via a Facebook page. You can add your support by joining the page, joining in the conversation and by attending the community public meeting at the Moruya Golf Club on October 6th
Until next …. Lei