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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Something is amiss with Moruya Hospital as another key member resigns

The Beagle has learnt that another key staff member of the Moruya Hospital has tended his resignation. Dr Neil Wright, Moruya Hospital's, Director of Surgery, adds his name to a long list of resignations of GPs and VMOs who are exiting the Moruya Hospital. In the wake of the treatment that was handed out to long-serving Eurobodalla obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Michael Holland it is clear that there must be a review carried out of the hospital's administration and processes that is leading to what can only be described as as an localised exodus that has included Batemans Bay hospital, rather than an erosion over a longer period of time. Dr Holland stated in November 2021 that he resigned due to what he described as alleged unsafe practices within the Southern Local Health District.

He told ABC at the time that "a recent review into maternity services at Moruya Hospital was prompted by his giving evidence to a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into regional and rural health in October 2021, where he stated under parliamentary privilege that neo-natal services at the unit were "unsafe".

The review that was undertaken did not address his concerns that prompted him to quit. "It completely ignored the root cause of our unsafe neo natal services...that is, the Southern NSW LHD...are failing to provide paediatric services to the largest rural maternity service in our region." "Their response was not to look at that root cause and say 'yes that needs to be resolved," he said.

"Their response was to blame the clinicians that were trying to hold the service together, including the obstetricians, GP's and midwives." It is clear that a review needs to be carried out to determine the root cause of the mass exodus that the Moruya Hospital has been experiencing of key health staff. Of concern though is that any review, like the review of the maternity services in Moruya District hospital would lay blame on the practitioners and not on the failures of administration, resources and funding. Already the absence of general managers has executive staff filling in and the advertising of positions appears more focused on administration roles that the more concerning nursing voids that are heavily impacting health delivery and the capacities of health staff. Southern NSW Local Health district has been asked to respond to the questions: "Will Dr Neil Wright's resignation impact on the community?" "What steps have been taken to ensure the continuity of service that was provided by Dr Neil Wright?" "Will there be a review undertaken to determine the root cause of the exodus of GPs and VMOs from the Moruya Hospital along with other key staff?" "The 2021 Census data has revealed that Eurobodalla has already passed the long predicted numbers forecast for 2031. SNSWLHD have stated in the past that radiotherapy and other services available in other regions are not available in South East NSW as our population numbers don't warrant such investment. Is that still the position?" The major demand drivers in the Eurobodalla Shire over the next 10 years will be population growth within the older age groups and the increasing burden of chronic disease conditions. It is estimated that well over one million people visit each year. The visitor economy supports thousands of jobs and makes up a large part of the workforce. Tourism is a growth industry within the region. The Eurobodalla Shire Council actively promotes tourism and the industry will continue to expand. With tourism comes the need for available health services. The largest impact on our health services is seen in the emergency departments for presentations that could be attended to in a GP practice. It has been identified that there will need to be a concerted effort maintained and partnerships formed with GP practices across the Shire to address the low acuity triage presentations to the ED. The Eurobodalla Health Service Clinical Services Plan March 2020 says "To support proposed service demand and future models of care, high level workforce modelling has been attended and a workforce plan developed to clarify the current profile, future expectations and strategies and opportunities to work towards this to support increased services at Eurobodalla Health Service". There appears to be a divide between the Plan and the reality.



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