TEN months out from the next state election, The Nationals have come out with what they hope is a vote-winning development for the people of the Bellingen Shire.
Nationals leader and Oxley MP Andrew Stoner said he had secured a commitment from the NSW Minister for Health that the North Coast Area Health Service has no intention of closing the Bellinger River District Hospital.
He said he has also been given an undertaking that the health service will make an audit of medical records relating to patient activity at Bellingen Hospital.
“The Medical Staff Council raised concerns about statistical and medical data contained in a report presented to the government’s clinical taskforce on Bellingen Hospital, after discovering the information was incorrect,” Mr Stoner said. “The minister has now advised that the North Coast Area Health Service has agreed to amend the catchment population information and will also review the medical data.
“It has been recognised that rehabilitation and palliative care patients at the hospital had been incorrectly categorised, and therefore misrepresented in the activity data.”
But while the area health service has again been forced to commit to keeping the hospital open, there is still no guarantee that a full range of basic services will be retained.
The current trial amalgamation with Macksville Hospital has done little to quell the concerns of the Bellinger Health Action Group (BHAG), which is pushing ahead with a rally next Saturday, May 15, in Maam Gaduying to show politicians and health bureaucrats the depth of local support for the retention of all services at the hospital. The rally, being held in conjunction with International Nurses Day, will run from noon to 3pm.