1,000 signatures reached
To: The Hon. Melinda Pavey, MP, The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, Chairman Alan Grimshaw AM MNCLHS Board
Save Bellingen Hospital
EDIT: May 2022: The great news is that the problem appears to be fixed for now with positions advertised - HUGE thanks to everyone for signing and sharing. The latest news from BHAG below:
We are pleased to be able to advise that there has been significant progress in the process to recruit Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) to the Bellinger River District Hospital.
The first advertisement has appeared on the NSW Health's website: NSW Health VMO position
This is the first of a series of rolling advertisements. Each advertisement will have a one month cut off date to allow MNCLHD to assess applications. The position will then be re-advertised.
You will note that applicants are not limited to working in the Emergency Department, but can choose ED, Inpatient or a combination of both. The inflexibility of the pre-existing VMO contract was a major stumbling block for prospective VMOs.
We have updated the BHAG website with this link and contact details Save Bellingen Hospital VMO Advertisement
BHAG will continue to monitor the situation and meet with the MNCLHD on a regular basis. Assuming that all goes to plan, we should not have to email you again for some time.
Thank you for your continued support. None of this would have happened if the community had not stepped up, signing the petition, attending meetings and spreading the word. We should congratulate ourselves, and the doctors, nurses and medical staff at the hospital for their commitment. The Bellingen community is truly a force to be reckoned with!
Vice President & Secretary BHAG Inc.
Website: Save Bellingen Hospital
The Mid-North Coast Area Health Service (MNCLHD) has now reached a final new model of care draft which if implemented will lead to the demise of Bellingen Hospital as a local community Hospital.
We need an immediate halt to this proposed change, and consideration of other options, such as that put forward by local medical professionals - a model that aimed to allow local GPs to enter or to re-enter the VMO workforce, as well as longer term aiming for BRDH to be a training hub for GPs wanting rural experience. This was to ensure the keeping open of the ED overnight. A number of local GPs have expressed interest in either working in ED or working in the inpatient area or both areas.
Why is this important?
This hospital is a massively important resource for our region. Any downgrade will have life-changing impacts. It needs to remain a functioning 24 hour emergency hospital.
The MNCLHD propose to close the ED from 8pm to 8am, and all ED presentations between those hours would be directed to go to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital (CHBH).
It also means there would be no Doctor present or on call at BRDH overnight. It is proposed to handle any deteriorating patients by phone contact with CHBH, and transfer them there as needed.
Any ambulance calls from Bellingen Shire residents would be transported to CHBH and not to BRDH. This would include home calls and Nursing Home calls. It was shown recently on a weekend where there was not a Dr on call at BRDH that ambulance transfers from BRDH to CHBH took up to 13 hours.
This would effectively reduce the BRDH to a sort of Multi-Purpose Service – though the MNCLHD maintains otherwise. It has been the experience of other hospitals where this has happened that the service capability of these hospitals has been markedly reduced, much to the detriment of the local community. It has also led to no local GP’s fulfilling VMO roles. Not because they did not want to but because they were eventually shut out by the LHD.
Service reduction would affect ED after hours, inpatient Care and the ability of the local community to be admitted to BRDH in acute situations – as they are now able to do
The VMO’s and community clearly and vocally opposed the MNCLHD Proposed Model.
How it will be delivered
The petition will be delivered to each of the contacts above