Will the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital and health provision remain a rotting fish

The Eurobodalla has already seen the community push for a regional hospital used as an electioneering carrot. A promise of $150m made, only to then say that work might begin in 2023, the same year as the next State election. If the bushfires haven't already proven the fragility and capacity of our local health system then COVID has certainly brought home the fact that the Eurobodalla is poorly serviced for much more than the basics. In the meantime the community has NOT given up and has continued to keep the promises of a new regional hospital in the Eurobodalla at the forefront of politicians minds, reminding them of promises and reiterating need. On the 16th March 2020, six parcel posts containing a covering letter and copies of 64 letters from the medical practitioners of the Eurobodalla were delivered to the Premier, the Minister for Health, the Shadow Minister for Health, the Chief Executive of the SNSWLHD, the Member for Bega and the President of the NSW AMA. The staff at Moruya Australia Post have checked the tracking numbers of all the parcels and have confirmed their delivery to the appropriate addresses.

The Premier sent hers to the Minister. The Minister for Health responded via a proforma response (via the SNSWLHD) that the concerns of the local doctors will not influence the progress of the development of a level 4 regional hospital for the Eurobodalla despite bushfire and pandemic crises exposing the vulnerability of our health services. The Shadow Minister acknowledged its receipt. The Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, has not responded. Even more seriously it can be verified that that copies of at least 1000 letters written by Eurobodalla residents requesting action on the development of a new level 4 hospital for the Eurobodalla and improvement in current health care services have been sent to the office of the Member for Bega since October 2019 without any response. The Office of the Chief Executive of the SNSWLHD says it wasn’t received, thus missing the meeting of the SNSWLHD Board. The President of the NSW AMA also denies receipt of the document. Dr Michael Holland told the Beagle "I paid the postage. I am sure I photocopied and put the 64 letters into each parcel. I doubt that I got the addresses wrong. No doubt politicians and public servants receive many letters from individuals on Quixotic crusades to settle their grudges. "Letters from approximately 90% of the medical practitioners of a single region, over 1000 letters to the local Member and a petition of 3000 signatures to the NSW Legislative Assembly are a different kettle of rotten fish. Visitors and fish both go off after 3 days.Unfulfilled political promises go off in 2 years." ÇA PUE - IT STINKS If this situation was a cheese, it would be Vieux-Boulogne!

Vieux-Boulogne is an unpasteurized, unpressed cow's-milk cheese made in the Pas-de-Calais département around the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. The particularly pungent smell of the Vieux Boulogne is created by the beer reacting with enzymes in the cheese. It even beat Epoisses de Bourgogne, a cheese so smelly it is banned from being taken on public transport in its native France. Dr Holland said "The recent shameful behaviour in NSW politics has explained why the petition of the residents of the Eurobodalla has not achieved either of its requests. "There has been no improvement in Accident & Emergency, Critical Care or Perioperative services." "There is still no start on work of a new hospital and no guarantee of level 4 services. "Perhaps if our disillusioned politicians see the light, there will be an epiphany resulting in multi partisan cooperation. "Perhaps our local State representative, the Federal representative for Gilmore and the candidates for Eden-Monaro (representing the Narooma population) will exhibit some statesmanship and achieve a result that will benefit the community from Milton-Ulladulla to Eden."

NSW Labor has slammed the Liberal-National Government for recycling already overdue health promises, revealing recent project announcements are part of whopping $2.2 billion worth of cost blowouts.

Labor says that it can reveal that three of the five projects announced last month were already over budget or with missed deadlines. It comes as the Auditor-General’s most recent inquiry into NSW Health uncovered a massive $2.2 billion blowout in major health projects, including the Macksville and Dubbo Hospitals.

Shadow Minister for Health, Ryan Park said "The Macksville Hospital redevelopment was due for completion last year. The timeline has since slipped out to 2022 and the budget has blown out by a whopping $23 million. The Mudgee and Dubbo Hospital projects are also second-hand promises and between one and two years late. These projects should have been delivered well before the COVID-19 outbreak hit."

Shadow Minister for Rural Health Kate Washington said: “It is simply shocking to see vital projects falling years behind and costing billions over budget. This comes after this Government ripped $252 million from NSW Health. The health system can’t cope with the growing cuts and cost blowouts from the Liberals and Nationals.”

"A growing number of regional and rural health practitioners have spoken out in recent weeks about the unprecedented challenges they’re grappling with as COVID-19 spreads. 

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs and Western NSW Mick Veitch added regional and rural NSW deserves the same level of care as Sydney.

“We have urged the Liberal-National Government to bolster ICU capacity and medical supplies in rural and regional NSW,” Mr Veitch said.

“This isn’t just a Sydney problem and it is no secret that our rural and regional hospitals need more support to cope with the pandemic. They are overstretched and under resourced.” In Novemebr 2019 the Hon Gareth Ward MP, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services was also advised of information concerning the social needs of the Eurobodalla region. In a letter written by Dr Holland the Minister was provided with figures

derived from the Targeted Earlier Intervention Program, Illawarra Shoalhaven & Southern NSW District, Southern NSW District Local Priorities. (Department of Communities and Justice: November 2019)


· the highest proportion of vulnerable 0-5 year olds

In Southern NSW, 37.0% of children aged 0-5 were identified as vulnerable. Eurobodalla had the largest proportion of vulnerable 0-5-year olds, at 41.0%. This was followed by Goulburn Mulwaree at 39.0% and Bega Valley at 35.0%.

· the highest number of children reported as being at risk of significant harm (ROSH)

In Southern NSW, 2,729 children were reported at ROSH in 2016-17.Eurobodalla had the largest number of children reported at ROSH, at 547. This was followed by Goulburn Mulwaree, at 518.

· the second highest number of children in Out Of Home Care(OOHC).

In Southern NSW, 455 children were in OOHC as of 30 June 2017. Goulburn Mulwaree had the largest number of children in OOHC, at 117. This was followed by Eurobodalla, at 86.

. the highest number of children affected by mental illness.

In Southern NSW, 16.0% of children under 15 were affected by mental illness. Eurobodalla had the largest proportion of children under 15 affected by mental illness, at 19.0%. This was followed by Bega Valley, at 18.0%, and Snowy Monaro Regional and Yass Valley, both at 16.0%

· the highest number of children developmentally vulnerable in at least one way

In Southern NSW, 20.1% of children were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain. Eurobodalla had the highest proportion of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain, at 23.1%. This was followed by Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional at 22.3% and Yass Valley at 21.0%.

In Southern NSW, 9.2% of children were developmentally vulnerable on two or more AEDC domains. Yass Valley had the highest proportion of children developmentally vulnerable on two or more domains, at 12.1%. This was followed by Eurobodalla at 11.4% and Bega Valley at 10.3%


· the highest unemployment rate in Southern NSW

The unemployment rate in Southern NSW is 5.2%. Eurobodalla had the highest proportion of people who were unemployed at 7.1%, followed by Goulburn Mulwaree at 6.3 %

· the lowest average family weekly earnings

In Southern NSW, the average family weekly income was $1,645. This is less than the NSW average of $1,780. Eurobodalla has the lowest average family weekly income, at $1,184. This was followed by Bega Valley at $1,242.

· the highest number of low income households

In Southern NSW, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley had the highest proportions of low-income households. In Eurobodalla, 29.4% of households had less than $650 a week in income. This was followed by Bega Valley, at 29.1%. This is much higher than the NSW average of 19.7%


· the highest number of reports of Domestic Violence

In Southern NSW, 622 domestic violence-related assaults occurred between January and December 2018. Domestic violence-related assaults were most likely to occur in the Eurobodalla LGA, with a rate of 464.8 per 100,000 people.

· the second highest arrests for cannabis use

In Southern NSW, drug offences related to cannabis possession or use were most common. Yass Valley had the highest rate of cannabis-related offences, at 483.9 per 100,000 of the population. This was followed by Eurobodalla at 372.9 per 100,000 of the population.

· the second highest arrests for methamphetamine use

Drug offences related to amphetamine possession or use were the next most common in the Southern NSW District. Goulburn Mulwaree had the highest rate of amphetamine-related offences, at 193.1 per 100,000 of the population. This was followed by Eurobodalla at 86.7 of the population.

The Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services was also advised that in the Eurobodalla, there are 1577 babies and children under the age of 5 years.

Perinatally, of the more than 300 women per annum booking for antenatal care in the Eurobodalla, 157 women are identified through Safe Start multidisciplinary meetings of the Eurobodalla Maternity service as having psychosocial issues. Of these 24 are identified as having intensive needs.

A significant proportion of these women are aged under 25 years.

There is a higher rate of Indigenous women and their children having care locally as the region has the largest Indigenous population in the SNSWLHD.

Care for these women, children and families is provided by a single Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Coordinator based outside the region as 0.5FTE and covering the entire SNSWLHD from Cooma, Bega and Moruya to Goulburn.

The Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services was reminded that in June 2018, the NSW Government announced $2.2 million funding for partnership with Tresillian to establish five Family Care Centre Hubs in Queanbeyan, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Taree and Broken Hill for vulnerable families living in rural NSW to provide local intensive support at early infancy. There are now Tresillian services win Queanbeyan and Cooma within the NSW electorate of Monaro.

In December 2018,, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro announced a total of $3 million in funding for Gidget Foundation Australia. This has included a Gidget Foundation centre in Queanbeyan, once again, within the NSW electorate of Monaro

The Morrison Government will provide $300,000 to the Gidget Foundation to support expectant and new parents experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety.

Dr Holland said "Despite the fact that the Eurobodalla region has the second largest population within the Southern NSW region and Southern NSW Local Health District, the social needs of children and families consistently exceed those of neighbouring regions which have benefitted from perinatal and early parenting support services.

"The Eurobodalla is suitably situated geographically to provide these services to the communities from Milton-Ulladulla to Bega through innovative mobile outreach services as demonstrated in the Macksville region of northern NSW. This would provide services within one to one and a half hours from home as compared to 2 to 3 hours travel to Queanbeyan. A new level 4 regional hospital has been planned for the region which would provide future antenatal, postnatal and paediatric services.

"NSW Government policy must respond to the needs of the Eurobodalla community.

As a consequence of the evident inequality of perinatal and early parenting services in the Eurobodalla, I implore urgent action on the provision of Tresillian and Gidget Foundation services in the Eurobodalla and surrounding Far South Coast of NSW," Dr Holland concluded.

Above: Empathy - be sure to add empathy (from the Response guide for Health Ministers)

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