25 August 2022

Eurobodalla hospital consultation claims untrue, advocates say

| Sally Foy
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Fitzroy and Mylene Boulting

Fitzroy and Mylene Boulting are vocal advocates for the development of a level four regional hospital at Moruya. Photo: Sally Foy.

Advocates for One New Eurobodalla Hospital, Fitzroy and Mylene Boulting, vehemently deny claims there has been extensive community consultation about the plan.

Unveiling the design for Eurobodalla’s new $260 million state-of-the-art regional hospital, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said “the local community has been instrumental in the design of the hospital”.

This was backed by NSW Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor, who said the local community was “instrumental” in the new hospital design process.

“The community has been involved every step of the way,” she said.

Ms Taylor listed health professionals, staff and locals, including Aboriginal community representatives, as among the groups to have influenced key elements of the hospital from the master plan through to the concept design.

However, Fitzroy and Mylene represent a vocal group of community members advocating for a new level four regional hospital in Eurobodalla and they are frustrated by what they describe as misleading claims relating to community consultation.

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Ms Boulting said the Government had been selective in its information flow.

“It’s really very simple,” she said. “We have had lots of so-called information sessions from the people that are going to build this health infrastructure and what they’re going to build is going to be an absolutely beautiful building with lots of landscaping, a huge carpark, a helipad … but we have no idea what it is going to be inside.”

Their concern is that the hospital could become a beautiful empty box that doesn’t deliver improved health services.

Ms Boulting said the group put questions direct to NSW Health and the relevant NSW Government ministers around bed numbers for maternity, paediatrics, orthopaedics and mental health.

“All these questions fall in a vacuum,” she said.

Instead, she feels NSW Health and the NSW Government is playing a game of smoke and mirrors.

“They have been telling us again and again that they are going to operate this hospital as part of a beautiful coastal network. All the hospitals along the coast will be networked and nobody [will miss out on] anything.”

According to Ms Boulting, original plans for a coastal network had Bega Hospital as the hub and a smaller hospital in Moruya.

She said those plans had been reworked to allow for a larger hospital to operate in Moruya as part of the planned coastal network.

But Ms Boulting said questions around the role of the new Moruya hospital within the larger coastal network remained unanswered.

“We have no idea how in this coastal network we are going to be able to work with the rest of the hospitals of the region,” she said.

Mr Boulting said his group had to battle for the new infrastructure to be named Eurobodalla Regional Hospital.

“Up until really quite recently it was called Eurobodalla Health Services,” he said.

“However, the moment you say ‘hospital’ it obliges them (and) they have no technical excuse for not delivering level four services.”

The couple said NSW Health and the NSW Government was playing games every step of the way.

Ms Boulting pointed at the latest press statement by NSW Health and the NSW Government as evidence of this.

“The minister is saying that this beautiful hospital is going to be built to accommodate level four services but that doesn’t mean that the hospital will have level four services (when it opens) its doors,” she said.

“This is the kind of wizardry of these media releases.”

Mr Boulting said recent claims around community consultation were up for debate.

He said media from various NSW ministers offices refer to community “consultation” but that this was reworked in media out of NSW Health to community “information”.

“Unless you are wise to their tricks and games … it gives an impression that they’re wanting to reach out and consult with community, and take on board etc … but when you take a look at the NSW Health media releases it doesn’t have “consultation” on it, it has community “information”,” Mr Boulting said.

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He said claims around consultation with the Aboriginal community were true.

“They are making an effort,” he said. “One of the Elders of their community is part of our community delegation (and) we insisted on them being there and we insisted on the director of Aboriginal services being in on a meeting we had with the Southern NSW local health district that we had two months back. The architects are quite interested in working with the First Nations community here.”

Mr Boulting said the architects were excited at the prospect of working with the local Aboriginal community.

“It’s a first for them,” he said. “There is a professional interest and pride in what they’re doing, which is great, and we couldn’t be happier because often they’re a community who are left on the periphery. We have been very strong about insisting that our First Nations fellow residents are absolutely part of the mainstream conversation.”

According to Mr Boulting, the new hospital design overlooks the need for a local radiotherapy service and this point was made by residents to NSW Health representatives.

“Their response immediately was: ‘No, it’s not going to happen’,” he said.

Ms Boulting said another example of the lack of community consultation was the plans for a helipad, which attracted vocal opposition from some residents.

“They have put a helipad 30 metres away from the back fence of their property,” Ms Boulting said.

He said the One Hospital group would continue to advocate for a level four regional hospital in Moruya.

“[We won’t stop] until we see that hospital … is equipped and run on a full proper level four service as the community expects and wants it to be,” Mr Boulting said.


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Jeff de Jager7:32 am 26 Aug 22

On top of existing concerns, will the current shortages of building supplies and tradespeople compounded by construction cost increases result in further reductions of services/amenities or will our politicians realise it would make sense to increase the budget ……….. particularly with a state election looming?

Ursula Helmy8:36 pm 25 Aug 22

Well and good but unless you have intern, rmo and registrar rotations from ANU and univ of Wollongong pushing thru with nurses from uni of Canberra it will not be manned. Need local unicersities to orovide tge initial manpower tgen incentives to keep them here.

Did Scotty from marketing have an input?

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