One and half years 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 as at October 2019: 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 advised the Minister for Health last October 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 was submitted to NSW Health in July, 2019. The Clinical Services Plan has recommended, within the core services, level 4 intensive care, anaesthetic, surgical, medical, emergency and maternity services.
The population of the Eurobodalla exceeds that of neighbouring regions whose hospitals already provide level 4 services.
It is understood that 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.
A One New Hospital Petition 2.0 was launched at the recent Eurobodalla healthEXPO and 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