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Labor: Urgent action is clearly needed to address a serious gap in Eurobodalla health services

The NSW Labor Opposition has slammed the Liberal-National State Government for failing to recognise the urgent need to address a serous gap in health services at Eurobodalla Hospital.  In a joint media release issued by Labor leader, Jodi Mckay and Ryan Park, Shadow Health Minister it said "The Eurobodalla Health Service has the second largest population for the area covered by the Southern NSW Local Health District but there is currently no intensive care unit and no specialist physician, paediatrician and orthopaedic surgeon. Patients are currently being forced to travel long distances for basic procedures. "The vulnerability of Eurobodalla’s population was laid bare when the recent bushfires closed parts of the Princes Highway and access to Moruya District Hospital was cut off.  "The Liberal Member for Bega Andrew Constance promised to build an upgraded district hospital at Moruya in 2018 but more than 12 months on, the draft Clinical Services Plan is still under review by the Ministry of Health," the NSW Labor leader said. This was confirmed in a recent letter to long-serving Moruya Obstetrician Dr Michael Holland from the Local Health District. It decreed there is no need to fast-track the clinical services plan or commencement of work on a new hospital. The initial correspondence was to the Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who couldn’t be bothered to reply himself (copy of letter below).  NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay, who spoke out on this issue in November, said the recent bushfires highlighted the urgent need for a new hospital.  “Of course there is a process to follow but this was an election promise and urgent action is clearly needed to address a serious gap in health services. This process needs to be fast-tracked,” Ms McKay said.  “The Berejiklian Government has form in promising new hospitals just before an election. It then does next to nothing and makes the same promise at the next election. That is simply stringing communities along.” Labor’s Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said: “The Health Minister can’t avoid facing up to this issue forever. They claim construction will start in this term of Government, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The Clinical Services Plan needs to be progressed now and a timeline announced.”  Labor’s Spokesperson for Bega Tara Moriarty said: “We know that many patients in the Eurobodalla are forced to travel outside the region for vital health and mental health services. They deserve to have access to the same services as people in other major centres.” Dr Holland, who is behind a push for the hospital project to be complete by 2023, said Labor’s support and advocacy is deeply appreciated. “Our community has been particularly unimpressed by the Minister considering our long campaign, pre-election promises and recent natural disaster,” Mr Holland said.  “Health services in the Eurobodalla Shire are grossly inequitable. I cannot emphasise this most evident disservice more strongly.”  TIMELINE: 2017:

A clinical review by the Agency for Clinical Innovation in 2017 recommended improvements to Critical Care Services at Eurobodalla Hospital.

2018:

A petition of 3000 signatures was tabled to the NSW Legislative Assembly.The Liberal NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Member for Bega Andrew Constance made a pre-election $150 million funding promise to build a new district hospital.

2019:

12 months since making the promise, Mr Constance had no further details.A second online petition attracted more than 3,000 signatures.700 letters were sent to Mr Constance from October to December.Mr Constance eventually came out in response to the community’s calls but all he could confirm is that a draft Clinical Services Plan is under review by the Ministry of Health – all while giving his constituents a slideshow presentation on Government processes.

2020:

In a letter to Dr Holland, the Local Health Service decreed there is no need to fast-track the clinical services plan or commencement of work on a new hospital. As of February, more than 1,000 letters have been to Mr Constance. So far, he hasn’t responded to any. It’s still unclear: where the new hospital will be built; when construction will start and finish; what the staffing levels will be; what health services will be available to patients; and whether these services will be privatised. No assurance has been made on the level status of the hospital.


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