Local Health District responds to surgeon’s claims

IN RESPONSE to our story where Professor Ned Abraham spoke out on what he believes is a second class health system on the Coffs Coast, Stewart Dowrick, Chief Executive Mid North Coast Local Health District issued the following statement.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) is currently working closely with NSW Health, staff and local communities to prepare for the potential impact of COVID-19 on the region. I thank all our staff for their combined efforts in calmly supporting preparedness while maintaining delivery of normal health services.

Our focus is always on our patients and delivering quality health care to the people of the Mid North Coast.

The bushfire situation presented new challenges to our health district, as it did to many residents and businesses across the Mid North Coast and NSW. Under these extreme circumstances, there was minimal disruption to services.

The district is reviewing how it responded to the insect issue that arose during the bushfires at Coffs Harbour Health Campus. This is being done in partnership with the Clinical Excellence Commission as it was a rare and unique situation. As we did at the time, I acknowledge the efforts of our staff who supported us to maintain health services during this period.

Across the MNCLHD we have a range of facilities providing public health care for the region. Two of these are major referral hospitals located at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie which deliver most of the high level care needs for our community including general medicine, surgery, day surgery, planned and emergency theatre service, coronary care (including coronary angiography), intensive care, obstetrics, paediatrics, 24-hour emergency department, oncology, palliative care, rehabilitation, stroke, acute renal dialysis, high dependency and mental health and an extensive range of outpatient clinics.

While not all specialty services are able to be located at both Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, every effort is made to ensure that these services are available within the region to minimise travel for patients.

The NSW Government has committed $194 million to the Coffs Harbour Hospital Campus Expansion which will see enhancements to the existing surgical and operating theatres in addition to new theatres, a new short stay surgical unit, orthopaedic and vascular unit, ambulatory care area and the expansion of community health.

An important part of the project has been the engagement of clinicians and other staff, patients and carers, as well as members of the community who provide valuable and ongoing insight into the redevelopment.

Since 2011-12, both the Coffs Clinical Network and Hastings Macleay Clinical Network have received $1.6 billion each in funding for patient services to meet local needs.

The 2019-20 budget for the Coffs Harbour Health Campus is $182 million. This year's budget provided funding to support additional staffing in the Coffs Harbour Emergency Department, as well as paediatric and neonatal services, cardiology enhancements, maternity services, new medical registrars and cleaning and biomedical support.

The MNCLHD is committed to engaging with clinicians as part of ongoing discussions on the future direction of health services. This is reflected in the fact that more than 400 clinicians have been consulted as part of the Coffs Harbour Hospital Campus Expansion project.

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