27 January 2022

Staffing concerns raised over $20 million Batemans Bay HealthOne facility

| Katrina Condie
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Health Minister and the SNSWLHD Chief Exec Marg Bennett

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and the SNSWLHD Chief Executive Marg Bennett at the HealthOne funding announcement. Photo: Southern NSW Local Health District.

A new $20 million, purpose-built health hub in Batemans Bay promises to bring a range of healthcare services together under one roof, but there are concerns that without adequate staffing, the HealthOne facility could become a white elephant.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, says HealthOne will be a one-stop, unique model of integrated care for the community, bringing together commonwealth-funded general practice and state-funded primary and community healthcare services, including dental, pharmacy and allied health professionals, in one location.

“While commonwealth and state governments have different areas of responsibility in delivering health services, the community just wants an effective, seamless system that works for them,” Mr Hazzard said.

“HealthOnes are particularly beneficial for people who have complex health needs, and are a proven successful model that bridges the gap between private providers and commonwealth and state-delivered health services.”

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Labor candidate for the seat of Bega and former VMO obstetrician and gynaecologist with the Southern NSW Local Health District, Doctor Michael Holland, has welcomed the facility which he says will benefit the Batemans Bay community “whose services in Batemans Bay Hospital are being reduced”.

However, he says general practitioners in Batemans Bay are already unable to recruit GPs to their existing practices and he is concerned that staffing a HealthOne facility with “fly-in, fly-out doctors” is a poor model of care for the community.

Dr Holland also claims medical and nursing staff are aware that “active recruitment to fill job vacancies is often limited to internal advertising leading to delays in filling these positions”.

“Many vacancies remain unfilled according to nursing staff,” he said.

“It has taken two months for interviews to occur following my resignation in November.”

Dr Holland says the community needs to be reassured that nursing levels and clinical services in the region are preserved until the opening of the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital as four senior doctors have submitted their resignations over these issues.

He has also requested the NSW Government extend the HealthOne centres to the Narooma/Cobargo/Bermagui area as well as Eden.

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HealthOne facilities across the state, including at Ulladulla and Jindabyne, feature multi-purpose meeting rooms, open work plan areas and breakout rooms and may also involve health and social care providers such as pharmacists, public dental services, private allied health professionals, other government agencies and non-government organisations.

The Ulladulla HealthOne, which opened in November 2020, offers services including Aboriginal health, aged care, child and family services, domestic family violence and sexual assault service, drug and alcohol services and mental health services under the one roof.

Mr Hazzard says the HealthOne at Batemans Bay has been in the planning for six months and will complement the $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital which will be built at Moruya and is set to open in 2025.

Outgoing State Member for Bega and newly endorsed Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Gilmore, Andrew Constance, said there are now 12 nurses completing post-graduate training in critical care in the Eurobodalla in preparation for the opening of the new regional hospital.

The HealthOne centre at Jindabyne

The HealthOne centre at Jindabyne. Photo: Southern NSW Local Health District.

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Cassandra Jordan11:18 pm 29 Jan 22

Who oversees the management of the complex called “HealthOne”? I hope GP’s can be encouraged to fill vacancies in Bateman’s Bay.

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