Georgie Rowley, a Registered Nurse and an employee of the Moruya and Batemans Bay Hospitals for the past 24 years presented a petition of two thousand signatures today to the SNSWLHD Board Annual Public Meeting
The signatures were obtained in under two weeks. Reading from a prepared speech Ms Rowly said:
"This petition follows the previous petition of 3300 signatures that was gathered and presented to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 2018 and more recently over one hundred letters to the Member for Bega requesting action on the inequality of health services in the Eurobodalla.
"The number of people who have signed the petition is insignificant really compared to the sentiment of the comments attached.
"They describe their hardships suffered and their feelings of despair. These passionate comments are from members of our community, their parents, their partners and their children in obtaining health services that could and should be provided locally. The rural people ARE genuinely concerned they have been left out when it comes to our financial health budget
"Many in particular comment on their stories of travel, 100's of kilometres away from their families and their support network.
"Yes, this is the downside of living rurally, however it does not have to remain so anymore and needs to be addressed NOW, Now is the time! They have spoken and they DO NOT want to wait another 5 years for a new hospital
"Many of you maybe aware, some of you not, of our local MP. Andrew Constance and his press release yesterday regarding when and where our new hospital will be. Finally an update after continual pressure from the public and ONE fb group and in particular Dr Holland.
"Yes we realise there is a lot of planning that goes into developing a new regional facility and yes we’re trying to remain patient, however it is vital to keep the residents of the Eurobodalla up to date with all developments and at what stage it is up to. There has been funds allocated, $150 million infact, however this is not enough to build a state of the art hospital, there needs to be more money offerred from our trusty government.
"I’ll give you an example of the distance we all know of in the Eurobodalla
It’s a distance of 300 kilometres, where there is no regional hospital between the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, Nowra and the South East Regional Hospital, Bega, this of course restricts the equitable health care to the residents of the Eurobodalla Shire.
Ms Rowley told the Board "Yes we do have 2 older style local establishments 20 minutes apart, separately funded as well, who over many previous years and currently up to 2019 are providing such amazing care to our residents and the 1000's of visitors who visit the Eurobodalla each year. They perform so well considering there is so much financial constraint. Yes we all understand budgets we actually are part of the budget and often there are not enough of us
"It is now time to address the elephant in the room, the staff at both facilities are struggling under the current systems in place with many staff crossing sites to work, this has been happening for many years now. Under ONE NEW roof is where the staff need to be working, under ONE budget, with improved and new modules of care more available.
"Of course the city tertiary hospitals is where we move our sickest patients onto, that’s a given. We stabilise our patients here when they present with acute medical, surgical, neonates and paediatrics conditions, we're not asking for the world, we're asking for an improved facility with new availability of modules of care.
"ONE asks, that in your responsibility to involve the community in the decisions that affect them, the Board direct the Minister for Health to provide immediate improvements to Emergency and Critical services and to commence the development of a level 4 regional hospital in the Eurobodalla in 2020" Ms Rowley finished.
Above: Georgie Rowley reads the petition prior to having it tabled