You say: tirade is launched at MLHD before they fight back

Closure of Griffith's pathology department was the last straw for one reader.
Closure of Griffith's pathology department was the last straw for one reader.

Last September Brad Hazzard and senior MLHD staff journeyed to Griffith after the community erupted angrily on the announcement that Griffith‘s Pathology department would close. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The downgrading and extinguishing of essential services is occurring right across the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).

Throughout the health district, recruitment of staff is poor, declining services and resources are stretched to capacity and the overworked and exasperated staff are forever asked to do more with less. 

Wagga hospital services are expanding but at the expense of other district hospitals. The new hospital now receives a larger intake but again staff numbers and bed spaces are inadequate.

Sparse population numbers and the tyranny of distance are not good reasons to reduce or downgrade basic essential services. The continued loss of front line services and jobs makes it almost impossible to reinstate as in some cases property is sold and people with expertise move on.

We can attract doctors and specialists to regional areas if we have reliable and maintained essential support services. To confuse matters, health jobs are advertised but in some cases these are never filled despite good applicants. The lack of consultation with on ground staff further undervalues local knowledge.

Local hospitals need to have their own local boards and be defined as either district or base. 

After all we do pay our taxes and Medicare levies and therefore we reasonably expect decent levels of services and an adequate budget.​

Helen Dalton (Binya)

MLHD response

I write in response to Helen Dalton’s letter that contains a number of inaccuracies that need to be corrected. I am writing to set the record straight. The Murrumbidgee Health District (MLHD) spent a record $589 million in providing quality health care services in 2016-2017. This is an increase of $40.9 million (7.5 per cent) on the previous year. 

Here is a snapshot of some of our current projects: the NSW Government has committed $35 million towards Stage 1 of the Griffith Base Hospital redevelopment; the $35 million is in addition to $647,400 allocated to the renal dialysis unit in 2016 and $720,000 to upgrade the maternity unit in 2014; upgrades to the Holbrook Health Service ($4.6 million) and Tocumwal Multipurpose Service ($4.96 million) were completed; a new Renal Dialysis Unit in Deniliquin is currently being built with a temporary unit opened in December 2016; rehabilitation services were expanded for communities in Tumut, Temora and Narrandera; a permanent Patient Flow and Transport Unit was established in MLHD ; and the Murrumbidgee Community Care Intake Service was launched in Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera to better meet patient and family needs. 

As part of the MLHD continued expansion and development, the Premier has reiterated her commitment to Stage 3 –which completes the $452 million Wagga Wagga Health Service redevelopment. The MLHD is progressing with its Clinical Service Plans for Stage 3 of WWRRH and the redevelopment of Griffith Base Hospital which have both been actioned in the last three months. 

Brett Thompson

Acting Chief Executive, MLHD

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