Planning for the new Eurobodalla regional hospital is advancing with the doctor that led the charge for a new facility attending his first planning meeting.
Moruya Obstetrician, Dr Michael Holland is now a member of the clinical services planning group which met last week on the back of the NSW Government’s $150 million commitment in October.
“It’s a very positive, well organised group,” Dr Holland says.
“Each health care stream has its own group of professionals that are involved.
“For example, there’s an aged persons stream, a critical care stream, a medical and surgical stream, child and family health, mental health, drug and alcohol.
“Doctors, nursing and administration staff are all involved in the design.
“But there has been so much work done already, that started twelve months ago, it’s all due for presentation to the Government by June next year.”
All involved are working towards providing a ‘Level 4 Health Care Service’ which is on par with Goulburn or South East Regional Hospitals.
Construction is due to start within the next four years.
Dr Holland says the move towards becoming a Level 4 service needs to start now.
“One of our hopes with the petition to the Minister for Health is that we need an immediate improvement in services,” he says.
“Emergency services for example – we need to set up a ‘Close Observation Unit’ which is basically a transition to an Intensive Care Unit.
“You can’t just open the doors of a hospital in five years’ time and say – here’s an Intensive Care Unit and have no one that has ever worked in one.”
Dr Holland hopes those sorts of advances will be seen sooner allowing staff and the community to transition to a higher level of care in preparation for the new hospital opening.
The location of the new hospital was not part of the discussion last week, but Dr Holland expects an announcement will be made next year.
“Health Infrastructure are out there looking, and as we have asked in our petition it has to be of equitable access to all the people of the Eurobodalla,” Dr Holland says.
Over 3,000 people signed the ‘One New Eurobodalla Hospital’ petition prior to the NSW Premier’s announcement.
It’s advocacy and interest Dr Holland is urging people to maintain as the process moves forward.
“The frustration is that on some issues the Eurobodalla continually seems to be overlooked,” he says.
“I think we need to get out there and make some noise, and I think the community is starting to understand that.”
With that in mind, increased mental health services to complement the new hospital is a new focus for Dr Holland.
“The outreach service from Headspace Bega to Narooma is a great innovation but I am keen to see what other services we can acquire for the Eurobodalla,” he says.