The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into rural health has today heard details of the critical state of health services in the regional community of the Eurobodalla on the South Coast of NSW.
The virtual hearing heard evidence from Cathie Hurst recalling her harrowing experience traveling interstate for cancer services that cannot be accessed in the region.
Testimony by highly respected senior clinician Dr Michael Holland pointed to a dangerous shortage of paediatric and maternity services and a system relying on overstretched and exhausted doctors, risking neonatal fatalities.
Dr Holland is the only Obstetrician in the Eurobodalla region. He told the inquiry he is regularly on call for 96 hours at a time and up to 264 hours when covering weekends.
Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park MP said the testimony and submissions had also revealed the NSW Government failed to apply for federal government funding that was made available for a local radiation therapy service.
“A radiation therapy service was promised to the people of the Eurobodalla to reduce the need for travel to the ACT but has been denied by the NSW Government.”
“There is no permanent paediatrician in the Eurobodalla and the community is regularly left without a qualified neonatal specialist to respond to paediatric emergencies, putting babies’ lives at risk.” Mr Park said
“The Government has repeatedly ignored cries for help from senior clinicians in the Eurobodalla. This is a Government that is satisfied to transfer patients around the state instead of providing the services where they are needed.” Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park MP
This comes as controversy continues around the clinical services planning for the new Eurobodalla Hospital with senior clinicians refusing to endorse the design brief maternity, neonatal, paediatric and emergency services at the new hospital.
“The NSW Government points to hospital upgrades but bricks and mortar don’t save lives - doctors, nurses and paramedics do. The Liberals and Nationals have reduced rural and regional healthcare capacity and has no plan to turn it around,” Mr Park said.
Labor’s representatives on the committee are Greg Donnelly (Chair) and Walt Secord.