Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner.
Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner.

High hopes for Bellinger hospital

EXPECTATIONS are high for a positive outcome from talks in Sydney this morning about the future of the Bellinger River District Hospital.

The member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner, is leading a delegation that includes the Bellingen mayor Councillor Mark Troy, his deputy Cr Kerry Child, council general manager, Mike Colreavy and Bellingen Health Action group member Jacki Lockyer for what his said will be a ‘frank and open discussion’ with the NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt and senior health bureaucrats.

“We will present a very compelling case to the minister for the retention of all current services at the hospital and the re-instatement of those jobs that have been lost,” Mr Stoner said.

“Part of our strategy will be to tell Mrs Tebbutt that information being given to her by the consultant engaged by the Area Health Service is wrong.

“Once she and her advisors realise that the data justifying the downgrading of the hospital is inaccurate, we hope that she will overrule the Area Health Service. She has that power and we hope we can convince her to use it.”

Mr Stoner said he believed the NCAHS had every intention to turn the hospital into a referral centre for the Coffs Harbour hospital and to give its beds over to aged care.

“This is not good for Coffs Harbour either and in fact it is critical for both the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen communities that the hospital’s emer-gency care functions are retained,” Mr Stoner said.

The Nationals leader said the Coalition was committed to ensuring the future of the Bellingen hospital by maintaining existing services and re-instating it’s maternity functions.

BELLINGEN Hospital Action is holding a giant jumble sale outside the IGA in Bellingen this Friday to raise money to fund its campaign to save the facility. Donations of saleable goods can be left at the Bellingen CWA rooms Thursday between 10am-4pm.



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