One year ago on the shores of the Moruya River the Premier of NSW stood with the Member for Bega and promised $150 million for a Eurobodalla Regional Hospital.
The announcement by the Premier, Ms Gladys Berejiklian, and member for Bega, Andrew Constance, on the 31st October, 2018, made a commitment to a single new level 4 hospital for the Eurobodalla.
Apart from the announcement in the Budget of commencement of works by 2023, there has been no action on the immediate improvements petitioned for, no date or site for the new hospital, and no guarantee of level 4 services. The announcement came following the handing over of a Petition, signed by over 3000 residents over a three week period, representing nearly 10% of the population, requesting that the NSW Ministry for Health;
1 - 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.
2 - 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.
The first element of the petition and the most important one has been all but ignored. Fact 1 : Goulburn Base Hospital
Physician, Intensive Care Specialist, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist
Southeast Regional Hospital Physician, Intensive Care Specialist, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist
Eurobodalla 0, 0, 0, 0 Fact 2 :
Emergency Department Presentations Goulburn Base Hospital 19278 Southeast Regional Hospital 19355 Eurobodalla 30025
Aeromedical Retrievals Goulburn Base Hospital 80 Southeast Regional Hospital 51 Eurobodalla 129
Intensive Care Unit Beds Goulburn Base Hospital 6 Southeast Regional Hospital 6 Eurobodalla 0
The Hon Brad Hazzard MP, Minister for Health and Medical Research has been reminded of the petition and the commitment made to it Provide IMMEDIATE improvement. As yet, there has been no improvement to the Accident & Emergency, Critical Care and Perioperative services within the Eurobodalla Health Service.
The Accident & Emergency Departments continue to struggle with the largest number of presentations in the South East NSW Local Health District.
The Agency for Clinical Innovation conducted a review of the Eurobodalla Health Service Surgical and Critical care Services in May 2017 recommended the development of a Close Observation Unit within Moruya District Hospital.
New regional hospital advocate Dr Michael J Holland has advised the Minister for Health that "Neglectfully, no action has been taken on this in two and a half years.
Dr Holland wrote to the Minister saying "This has resulted in the limitation of services to local patients, requiring transfer outside the Eurobodalla and jeopardising patient safety.
"At this time, there has been no announcement of the site of the new hospital and, more disturbing, no date for the commencement of the project.
"The Eurobodalla Health Services Clinical Services Plan has been submitted to NSW Health in July,2019. I was a member of the Clinical Services Planning Committee as the VMO representative. The Clinical Services Plan has recommended, within the core services, level 4 intensive care, anaesthetic, surgical, medical, emergency and maternity services.' Dr Holland said.
"These require, as determined by NSW Health Role Delineation, the provision of specialist intensivist, anaesthetic, physician, emergency specialist, surgical, obstetric & gynaecological and paediatric services.
"The population of the Eurobodalla exceeds that of neighbouring regions whose hospitals already provide level 4 services.
"The Eurobodalla Health Services provides medical, surgical, emergency and maternity services in excess of those provided by neighbouring hospitals which provide level 4 services.
Dr Holland was clear in his advice to the Minister saying "It is an ethical issue of justice and autonomy to provide these equal services to the population of the Eurobodalla.
"Improvement of services needs to be provided immediately within the existing infrastructure as requested by the Petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly and as recommended by the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation.
"The commencement of work on the single new Eurobodalla hospital needs to occur as soon as possible.
"The Eurobodalla Health Service Clinical Services Plan needs to be ratified at the level 4 services equal to those of the Regional and Base Hospitals within the SNSWLHD.
Dr Holland has also advised the Minister that the SNSWLHD currently has no permanent Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director of Medical Services.
"These positions need to filled immediately with executive representatives with the capability to provide continuity of leadership and governance towards the development of a single new Eurobodalla hospital, in order to not repeat the failures of leadership and governance exemplified within the Reid/Nowitzke Review of South East Regional Hospital, May 2017." he said. A One New Hospital Petition 2.0 was launched at the recent Eurobodalla healthEXPO and is now being distributed to the community and local businesses. The petition to Andrew Constance, Member for Bega says in part: The community at large, and the members of ONE – One New Eurobodalla hospital group, expect;
RELEASE OF THE ALLOCATED BUDGET FOR A NEW EUROBODALLA HOSPITAL AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF CAPITAL WORKS WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY
FORMAL CONFIRMATION OF LEVEL 4 CLINICAL SERVICES IN A NEW EUROBODALLA REGIONAL HOSPITAL EQUAL TO THOSE IN BEGA AND GOULBURN, INCLUDING EMERGENCY, SURGERY, MEDICINE, INTENSIVE CARE, MATERNITY, PAEDIATRICS AND MENTAL HEALTH.
IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT IN AND RESOURCING OF ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY, CRITICAL CARE AND PERIOPERATIVE SERVICES WHILST TRANSITIONING TO A SINGLE EUROBODALLA REGIONAL HOSPITAL. We are very concerned by this apparent lack of progress and as our Local Member seek your active support for the Minister for Health to prioritise actions with a greater degree of focus and urgency to improve our faltering and compromised regional health services with immediate effect and going forward.
We hope we may count on your good offices as our Local Member to obtain the outcomes as set out in the Petition to which you publicly affirmed your strong support. A copy of that petition in full can be found HERE and the community are invited to print, sign and submit it to the local member.
The Hon Brad Hazzard NSW Minister for Health & Medical Research
The Hon Gladys Berejiklian Premier of NSW
The Hon Andrew Constance Member for Bega
The petition says:
The Eurobodalla health district has the second largest population in the SNSWLHD.
The Eurobodalla has the highest number of accident & emergency services and aeromedical retrievals in the SNSWLHD.
The Eurobodalla has a higher number of separations, hospital non-admitted patient services, births and ambulance services than Goulburn Base Hospital and South East Regional Hospital.
Goulburn Base Hospital and South East Regional Hospitals are both level 4 hospitals.
Goulburn Base Hospital and South East Regional Hospitals both have an intensive care unit, physician, paediatrician and orthopaedic surgeons.
The Eurobodalla region has no level 4 hospital, no intensive care service, no specialist physician, paediatrician or orthopaedic surgeon.
A petition to the NSW legislative assembly was received in December 2018.
There is $150 million in the nsw budget for commencement of a new hospital by 2023.
WE need it now!
WE need immediate improvements to emergency & critical care services!
WE need this unethical injustice corrected now!