NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has deflected blame for the slated discontinuation of Temora Hospital’s maternity services, stating he was kept in the dark by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
It comes after a media statement released on August 20 outlined recommended changes to “some surgery and maternity services”.
“I was not aware of the decision made by the local health district until being recently advised by Katrina Hodgkinson and Daryl Maguire,” Mr Hazzard said.
“It is my position as Health Minister that services should be retained in local regional communities unless there are overwhelming reasons to change.”
Mr Hazzard said he had since entered into discussions concerning the Temora facility.
He said he would continue investigations to ascertain the rationale behind its scheduled closure.
In a boost for the hospital, the minister assured steps would be taken to maintain local services for the area.
“I’m yet to see substantive evidence for the facility’s closure,” he said.
“Any reasonable cost should be expended if it means keeping services for locals.
“I’ve spoken with hospital staff and … anything I can do will be reasonably done.”
The minister’s assurances were slammed by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak.
He accused Mr Hazzard of trying to quietly dispose of rural facilities despite a $4.5 billion surplus.
“It’s obvious that this closure at Temora Hospital was designed to be quietly swept under the carpet,” Mr Borsak said.
Mr Hazzard admitted to ongoing communicative issues between local health districts and their constituents but hotly disputed Mr Borsak’s claims.
“From my discussions with doctors in Temora, they certainly don't seem to think there was adequate consultation,” he said.
"However, I have no interest whatsoever in any of the pollywaffle that comes out of Mr Borsak's mouth.”