News

Frustration grows as wait for new Eurobodalla hospital drags

Ian Campbell 7 November 2019
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Dr Michael Holland, and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance holding the One Eurobodalla petition. Photo: Ian Campbell

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Dr Michael Holland, and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance holding the One Eurobodalla petition, October 31, 2018. Photo: Ian Campbell

It’s just over 12 months since the NSW Premier and Member for Bega were presented with a petition of over 3,000 signatures calling for ‘One New Eurobodalla Hospital’.

There and then on a windy afternoon on the banks of the Moruya River, Gladys Berejiklian and Andrew Constance committed a Coalition Government to doing just that.

“We are looking forward to getting cracking and building this,” Ms Berejiklian said.

However, many of the 3,000 people who supported the original push are signing a new petition, frustrated that not much seems to have happened since that cold day at the end of October 2018.

Long-serving Moruya Obstetrician, Dr Michael Holland is the heart, brains and drive behind the One New Eurobodalla Hospital campaign.

“At this time, there has been no announcement of the site of the new hospital and, more disturbing, no date for the commencement of the project,” a frustrated Dr Holland says.

“The Eurobodalla Health Services Clinical Services Plan was submitted to NSW Health in July, 2019.

“Improvement of services needs to be provided immediately within the existing infrastructure as requested by the Petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly and as recommended by the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation.

“The commencement of work on the single new Eurobodalla hospital needs to occur as soon as possible.”

The new petition launched by Dr Holland via Change.org describes the current health care situation in the Eurobodalla as “unethical”.

“The population of the Eurobodalla exceeds that of neighbouring regions whose hospitals already provide level 4 services,” Dr Holland says.

“Eurobodalla Health Services provides medical, surgical, emergency and maternity services to more people than neighbouring hospitals which currently provide higher level 4 services.

“It is an ethical issue of justice and autonomy to provide these equal services to the population of the Eurobodalla.”

Member for Bega, Andrew Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, at Moruya's Quarry Park. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Member for Bega, Andrew Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, at Moruya’s Quarry Park announcing $150 million for a new Eurobodalla Hospital, October 31, 2018. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Dr Holland suggests that the region, can’t wait until 2023 for construction of the new facility to start. It’s a point echoed by many who have signed the new petition.

Paul Davies writes, “No paediatrician within a two hour drive! Every time we present to Batemans Bay, we either get a helicopter ride or a road trip in an ambulance. Surely it’s cheaper just to get things sorted?”

Phil Barnes writes, “My daughter recently broke her arm in the shire, and we had to travel to Bega for the fracture clinic.”

Chris Marley, “We were assured it would happen, Andrew Constance and we need this hospital badly! When will it happen?”

Maddi Laws writes, “My 6 month old son is sick and traveling from Moruya to Canberra every other week is just a joke. For a little boy to be in the car for 4-6 hrs a day and then the cost of fuel and food it’s really not fair.”

Speaking with Region Media, Andrew Constance acknowledges peoples frustration and enthusiasm to see the project start.

“The Clinical Services Plan is now sitting with the Ministry and I am pursuing the Health Minister for final approval on that,” Mr Constance says.

“You need that plan to inform the design of the hospital before we move into the next phase.

“In the new year, we will be forming a community advisory body which will have expert representation from across the shire.

“I know everyone would like to see this hospital built next week, but that’s not how this works.”

Mylene and Fitzroy Boulting and Georgie Rowley delivering the One Eurobodalla Hospital petition to he Bega office of Andrew Constance. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Mylene and Fitzroy Boulting and Georgie Rowley delivering the One Eurobodalla Hospital petition to the Bega office of Andrew Constance, October 27, 2018. Photo: Ian Campbell.

A location for the $150 million facility is still undecided with the focus to date on the Clinical Services Plan.

In terms of improving health services in the meantime, Mr Constance says, “Brad Hazzard [NSW Health Minister] is well aware of the need to broaden local services and any issues presented I will ensure they are put on his desk.”

Dr Holland says the lack of progress is concerning, “we need the government to prioritise these actions with a greater degree of focus and urgency to improve our faltering and compromised regional health services with immediate effect and going forward.”

Dr Holland plans on raising the issue at the upcoming public meeting of the Southern NSW Local Health District, which will be held at 2 pm at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on Thursday, November 14.

What's Your Opinion?

3 Responses to Frustration grows as wait for new Eurobodalla hospital drags

Filter
Order
Jeff de Jager 8:21 am 07 Nov 19

“The Clinical Services Plan is now sitting with the Ministry and I am pursuing the Health Minister for final approval on that,” Mr Constance says.

“You need that plan to inform the design of the hospital before we move into the next phase.

“In the new year, we will be forming a community advisory body which will have expert representation from across the shire.”

So what is it in the Clinical Services Plan that would prevent a suitable site being selected now? Umpteen things can be done at once – not everything relies on the previous step being concluded. Where’s the sense of urgency with this project?

If we were going to war, would the order for the production of rifles be left waiting until the troops had been recruited and have had their basic training?

Bill Boyd 8:58 am 07 Nov 19

I’ve seen this is Qld where Govt promised a lump sum for a new health facility then did nothing. As time went by the costs of the build went up and the lump sum stayed the same so the community got a a lesser facility than they might have.

Bruce Stevenson 1:33 pm 09 Nov 19

Understanding the area requirements for the future far outweighs the ongoing turf war of where the hospital should be .servicing locals and tourists should be the priority.
Would I trade an extra 5-10 minute drive for specialist consult absolutely.
So many dedicated medical professionals in this area that go above and beyond deserve new equipment,better training to assist them to do an amazing work . Batemans Bay to Narooma anywhere in between,pick a site and get on with it .

Top