THE LAST STRAW
I regretfully announce to the residents of Eurobodalla and the South Coast that I have submitted my resignation as VMO Obstetrician & Gynaecologist with the Southern NSW Local Health District.
It is a position which I have held for 19 years. I will not say that I have recently held it with pride.
It is a position which has become untenable.
I am proud of the services that I have provided for women and their families from Milton-Ulladulla to Eden.
I am proud of the team of doctors, midwives, nurses, allied health professionals and health services workers that I have worked with.
I am not proud of NSW Health which, as a department of the NSW Government, is responsible for the provision of health care to the people of NSW.
The last of a series of last straws was the Moruya Hospital Maternity Service Resilience Assessment released in confidence to a limited number of individuals last week.
It was not released to those individuals who have informed me that it does not reflect their evidence given to the review.
It found that the Moruya Maternity Service was operating at the most basic level of resilience.
As the informal leader of the service, I take responsibility for this judgement just as political leaders accused of corruption resign their positions.
The review must be viewed in a contextual and temporal manner.
A senior clinician advocates for improved health services for the past 19 years.
The same senior clinician informs the community that a Clinical Services Plan for their community is seriously underfunded resulting in the reduction of original theatre spaces, the removal of the Central Sterilising Unit, the reduction in maternity, neonatal & paediatric beds and the rejection of a proposed radiation oncology service.
He continues to inform the community that the Clinical Services Plan for level 4 services including Intensive Care Services has never been on the agenda of NSW Health on opening. Therefore, a level 3 hospital and a level 2 hospital will close and a level 3 hospital will open. Net gain zero in 2025 or later.
The senior clinician gives evidence at the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional remote New South Wales and states that neonatal services in his unit are unsafe.
A review is performed by NSW Health which then devalues the services provided by highly respected, dedicated, and skilled clinicians.
It results in the resignation of one of these excellent GP obstetricians who is the basis of sustainable rural maternity services.
It blames the victims of the unsafe service.
It ignores the root cause of unsafe neonatal services which is the failure to provide paediatric services to the largest rural maternity service in the SNSWLHD.
I have been informed by individuals close to the NSW Inquiry who claim to have heard from several witnesses who have been the subject to individual investigation by their Local Health Districts.
I hope that this is untrue.
I had planned to work until the end of my contract in June 2023 and then mentor and support the transition to a new level 4 hospital.
I have reached the limit of my clinical ability to work in that capacity.
My resignation is effective from mid-February 2022.
My future path after this is not yet determined.
Nevertheless, I can inform the community that, in whatever role I have after February 2022, I will not cease to advocate for the best health care that the Eurobodalla is entitled to.
Please attend the Open the Doors with Level Four public assembly and march at 1030am on Saturday 27th November at the Riverside Park rotunda Moruya. Dr Michael Holland When advised of the notice of resignation the NSW Shadow Minister for Health, and also his capacity as Shadow Minister for the South Coast, Ryan Park, told The Beagle: “I am very disappointed to hear of Dr Holland’s resignation. Dr Holland has been a tireless advocate for health services in the region for many years. He has fought on behalf of a community he cares deeply about.”
“The NSW Government and the Health Minister has some serious explaining to do to the community of the Eurobodalla” Comments have been requested of Margaret Bennett, Chief Executive of Southern NSW Local Health District and Andrew Constance, member for Bega.
Above: Margaret Bennett-Chief Executive NSW Southern Local Health District, Dr Michael Holland and Lisa Kennedy-GM Eurobodalla and Queanbeyan Health Services. Photo: Annie Clarke Further reading : An Open Letter by Dr Michael Holland