A very positive day for health in the Eurobodalla today at a public meeting held in Moruya to a gathering of over 100. Hosted by the Our Towns, Our Say group the meeting was the second that has publicly discussed the future that lies ahead for the provision of expanding hospital facilities, increased resources and expansion of ancillary health services in the region. The first pubic meeting around the need was in Batemans Bay at a public meeting called by Our Town Our Say when the issue of a need for a CAT scanner at the Batemans Bay Hospital was raised. Those attending that meeting heard from Lisa Kennedy, General Manager at Southern NSW Local Health District and learnt of the long term Clinical Services plans for Eurobodalla that will hopefully bring a more cohesive delivery of health services to the Eurobodalla while also acknowledging the need to further expand on those services as needs demand. Today's meeting allowed Ms Kennedy to re-present that overview to many in the Moruya community who managed to attend, along with those from across the shire keen to hear the details of the next steps ahead for ONE (One New Eurobodalla) regional hospital. The meeting was opened with an apology from Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis and Liberal Candidate for Eden Monaro Fiona Kotvojs. Able to attend the more than significant meeting however were Labor Candidate for Bega, Leanne Atkinson, Labor Candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips and Councillors McGinlay, Mayne and Constable. There were no other apologies tabled. The first to address the meeting on the ONE- One New Eurobodalla hospital was Dr Lachlan Brown of Batemans Bay.
Following on from Dr Brown was Leanne Atkinson, Labor Candidate for Bega (below)
Then, offering an overview of the Southern NSW Local Health District long term Clinical Services plans for Eurobodalla, Lisa Kennedy, General Manager took the meeting through a progression of slides (Note : the whole presentation is not shown due to a technical difficulty)
Finishing up in presentations before questions were taken from the floor was Dr Michael Holland clarifying the mission statement of ONE - One New Eurobodalla hospital ONE - One New Eurobodalla hospital group is to promote the development of a single new health facility for the citizens of the Eurobodalla. By their division of resources, Eurobodalla health services are disadvantaged relative to our nearest Regional and Base hospitals.Uniting residents from north of Batemans Bay to south of Narooma, we support the concept of equitable access to improved Emergency,Critical Care,Surgical and Obstetric services. Increasing service capability and role delineation of a single new hospital will result in the attraction, maintenance and sustainability of general practitioners, specialist medical services, nursing and allied health staff. One New Eurobodalla hospital will reduce the outflow of patients to services remote from their families.ONE supports the improvement in Emergency, Critical Care and Perioperative services immediately and during the transition to a single new hospital.
Above: Dr Michael Holland (backup camera used)
What then followed was a range of questions and answers, most of which you can hear in the audio feed below:
AUDIO: Question and answer session
As you can hear at the end of the audio above the following resolutions were carried unanimously. 1. THAT all levels of government work together to immediately improve Accident & Emergency Services, Critical Care Services and Perioperative Services and upgrade existing infrastructure and workforce servicing the Eurobodalla Shire. 2. THAT all levels of government work together to establish a single new health facility within the Eurobodalla Shire which will provide medical services equal to those of the Regional and Base Hospitals within the Southern NSW Local Health District. 3. THAT such health facility provide equitable access for residents of the Eurobodalla Shire.
Dr Michael Holland advised the 2500 plus followers of the group ONE- One New Eurobodalla hospital late this afternoon that the resolution had been passed and also thanked everyone who has already signed the change.org petition which has more than 900 signatures in less than a week. Dr Holland however offered that as the change.org petition is not a statutory document as electronic petitions are not accepted by NSW Parliament a formal petition has now been raised.
This petition will be forwarded to the Hon. Andrew Constance MP
Ministers are required to lodge, with the Clerk, a response to a petition signed by 500 or more persons.The response must be received within 35 calendar days from the date a petition is received. The response is also reported and published.
The petition is as follows:
PETITION – EUROBODALLA HEALTH SERVICES
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales.
The Petition of the concerned residents of the Eurobodalla Shire within the NSW Electoral District of Bega, and other concerned residents of New South Wales and neighbouring territories.
We the undersigned bring to the attention of the House that;
Constrained to limited services by their division of resources, Eurobodalla health services are disadvantaged relative to our nearest Regional and Base hospitals.
Although the combined numbers of services at Batemans Bay District Hospital and Moruya District Hospital are equal to or outnumber those of established regional or base hospitals within the Southern NSW Local Health District, such as South East Regional Hospital Bega and Goulburn Base Hospitals, which currently provide Intensive Care, Critical Care and Mental Health services, these services are desperately lacking in the Eurobodalla.
Within the distance of three hundred kilometres, there is no regional hospital between the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital Nowra and the South East Regional Hospital Bega, thus restricting equitable health care to the residents of the Eurobodalla Shire.
There is an urgent and dire need to immediately improve Accident & Emergency, Critical Care and Perioperative services in the Eurobodalla Shire.
The undersigned petitioners therefore respectfully ask the Legislative Assembly to direct the Minister for Health to;
Provide immediate improvement to the Accident & Emergency, Critical Care and Perioperative services of the Eurobodalla Shire by funding and upgrading the existing infrastructure and workforce.
Commit to the funding, planning and building of one new regional hospital for the Eurobodalla Shire, located at a site providing equitable accessibility for the people of the Eurobodalla, which will provide medical services equal to those of the Regional and Base Hospitals within the Southern NSW Local Health District.
Principal Petitioner – Dr Michael Joseph Holland of PO Box 555, Moruya, 2537 on behalf of the people of the Eurobodalla. The Petition is now out in the public so keep an eye out for it. Be sure to Join the Facebook Group to keep up to date and for those not on FB the Beagle will keep you updated