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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Will Hazzard respond during his sod turning photoshoot

The Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, is rumoured to be arriving with a golden shovel on February 6th to turn the first sod at the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital site. There is little doubt that the occasion will be a marketing opportunity for the local Liberal candidate standing in March 2023 NSW State election. In order to control the narrative the invitation to the sod turning will be extended to those who won't make waves. The last "opening" of a facility, an emergency department demountable in Moruya, saw the premier scurry away from placard carrying three nurses who wanted to ask the Premier about nurse staffing levels on the new facility. This time the Minister for Health might have to deal with community members asking some hard questions as he attempts to smile for the camera with his foot on his shovel. Members of ONE Eurobodalla Hospital say of the upcoming shovel event: "We need clear communication from NSW Health on the following key questions:

1 - When is the new hospital opening? The response from NSW Health is not clear: “Construction of a facility of this size generally takes between two to three years to complete and the new hospital is expected to open to be completed in 2025.

Obviously a hospital cannot open the minute construction is completed, it needs time (6-9 months?) for commissioning and testing before the first patients are admitted: so WHEN are the doors opening?

2 - Is the hospital providing Level 4 services on opening?

Not from NSW Health’s response:

The new hospital will require time to transition and develop the workforce to align with the new contemporary models of care, the new facility, technology and ways of working.

Our main concern: the Intensive Care Unit

- Is the new hospital going to open with a functioning LEVEL 4 Intensive Care Unit (the prerequisite for general level 4 services of all other clinical streams): It seems the plans are to ‘build capacity’ to level 4 Intensive Care services, i.e. not opening at level 4.

3 – What services, and bed numbers

- Unsure we’ll get enough paediatric beds to attract specialist Paediatricians and paediatric nurses

- Unsure we’ll get enough maternity beds to cover current and projected needs (at the moment, Bega and Milton are sending mums-to-be to Moruya)

Both these bed levels are fundamental to achieve level 4 Maternity and level 3 Paediatric & Neonatal services

- Only one mental health bed (after fierce battles with NSW Health), no psychiatric services

- No orthopaedic services in the new hospital

The response from NSW Health is the ‘concept’ of “flexible beds”, which will not solve the issues from a specialist staffing point of view.

4 - Staffing

Although there has been almost 5 years of urging and demanding from Dr Holland and the ONE Hospital Advocates Group, it is still unclear what sort of recruitment and training plans are in place to ensure appropriate staffing on opening.

The response here is: “One of the key challenges in regional and rural health is the split responsibility between the Australian Government, and the states and territories. NSW Health is committed to working with the Australian Government to explore opportunities for greater coordination and innovation”. "Not reassuring, especially bearing in mind the Federal and NSW Governments were on the same political side during most of this time. They must start now if we are to open in 2 years!" the spokesperson said.

Above: The answers to the hard questions remain buried


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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