The Beagle Editor, This Saturday, weather permitting, the next phase of the continuing campaign
by “ONE” Hospital Advocates Group and the community to ensure the delivery of an
appropriately resourced level 4 Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will be launched via a Petition.
As with the community’s other massively subscribed Healthcare petitions, this will be
speeding like an arrow straight to NSW Parliament.
This campaign, as it has done from the start, joins the health needs of the neighbouring
communities of Bega Valley who, as patients and frontline staff know only too well, share
many of the healthcare issues in common with the Eurobodalla.
At NSW Health’s direction, SNSWLHD, the local health management’s executive, has been
adamant in denying the self-evident reality that our Region is in desperate need of locally
available Radiotherapy Services.
Anyone with friends or family members who have witnessed their loved ones, whether an
elderly relative or a mother of young children, suffer the indignities and challenges of long
journeys, from our Coastal region stretching 100s of kms from Eden up to South Durras,
involving repeated, exhausting, logistically complicated and impossibly expensive journeys
often many days and hours away from home and family, will know what an incredibly
draining and almost impossible challenge this is for the sick patient.
In 2022, is the above scenario excusable and acceptable? With even respected advocacy
organisation CAN-ASSIST’s appeals left unanswered, the background facts are damning.
With a seniors demographic that is nationally significant, and a region that was publicly
singled out by name in December 2019 by the Federal Health Minister as one among a roll-
call of Local Health Districts (LHDs) meeting the criterion for access to Commonwealth
funding for local radiotherapy, a ‘shy’ SNSWLHD eventually volunteered the information
(only after questioning from local healthcare advocates) that it had not bothered to apply
for the funding earmarked for the region and its needy patients!
Even though in that same funding program, LHDs in and outside of NSW with lesser or parity population counts applied for and were happily allocated their funding, SNSWLHD rejected the opportunity to do so on the basis that our region’s population (70,000+) was not
At the same time, the proactive interest of two well credentialled service suppliers willing to co-locate to the new hospital site and bulk-bill was also similarly spurned!
With a new Hospital site now finally purchased (a sympathetic ‘Thank You’ to the local
Braemar Farm family) and construction planning still underway, surely the fiscally
responsible approach would be to plan in and provide for those facilities now, rather than
the much costlier option of ‘retro-fitting’? Our population is already generating
unacceptable levels of radiotherapy referrals out of the region.
There is an absolute Duty of Care to our most vulnerable here that seems as clear as daylight.
“ONE” New L4 Eurobodalla Hospital Advocates