AMA President tours the South East

Dr Danielle McMullen, President AMA NSW, and Ms Juliette Paterson, Senior Workplace Relations Advisor, visited the Eurobodalla today in response to the receipt of 64 letters signed by local doctors requesting a single new level 4 Eurobodalla regional hospital and improvement to Accident & Emergency and Critical Services. These letters represented approximately 90% of the medical workforce in the Eurobodalla.

Dr McMullen confirmed the mission of the Australian Medical Association (NSW) in advancing the interests of the medical profession and their patients through effective advocacy and encouraging the advancement of the health of the community.

The visit was timely in relation to the current NSW Parliament Inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW. Dr McMullen began the tour in Narooma and held discussions in Narooma Community Health Centre with representatives of the SNSWLHD. A visit to Moruya and Batemans Bay District Hospital sites was conducted and the AMA team met staff, witnessing the high demands of the Accident & Emergency Departments.

She was informed that despite the combined Accident & Emergency Departments having 8-10,000 more presentations per year compared to South East Regional Hospital and Goulburn Base Hospital, a higher number of medical separations and a higher number of mental health presentations, the area needed to transfer 130 patients per month outside the region due to the lack of Intensive Care Services. Dr McMullen also met with community representatives from the Narooma, Moruya and Batemans Bay areas who shared their personal experiences of the local health services and their expectations of level 4 local services in the Eurobodalla. The community representatives informed Dr McMullen that the community has the expectation of a level of health service equal to South East Regional Hospital and Goulburn Base Hospital which would include physician, orthopaedic, paediatric and psychiatric services. The first-hand experience of the region and learning of its positives, and negatives will greatly assist the AMA in advocating for improved health services in the Eurobodalla Dr McMullen acknowledged that without level 4 Intensive Care services the medical, surgical and maternity services could not increase to a level 4 role delineation standard, therefore remaining at the existing level of services.

She also acknowledged the need for health education facilities locally and the need for recruitment of permanent local doctors, nurses and allied health workers.

The team was impressed by the level of staff commitment to providing the best level of care within the capability of the hospitals and experienced the distances required for patients to access care at other hospitals such as South East Regional Hospital.

Dr McMullen is committed to advocate for the improvement of health services in the Eurobodalla at the NSW Health level.

Above: AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen met with Moruya obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Michael Holland

VIDEO: AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen speaks with Simon Lauder of ABC South East Radio, March 25th 2021

Recorded under Fair Dealing . All copy right remains with ABC