The future of Griffith Base Hospital's Sterilisation Unit still remains unclear

The future of the sterilisation department still remains unclear.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has denied reports from sources close to the hospital stating the decision has already been made to privatise the department and relocate it to St Vincent’s.

Acting Chief Executive Brett Thompson says plans have yet to be finalised for review.

“The proposed Sterilising Services Agreement between MLHD and St Vincent's Private Hospital for Griffith Base Hospital (GBH) is currently being finalised for consideration by the NSW Ministry of Health,” he said.

Yet despite MLHD’s reassurances no decision has been made, a source close to the hospital has told The Area News all sterilising is now being conducted at St Vincent’s.

“The machine was turned off last Friday,” the source said.

“Not sure if a contract has been signed. The staff have not been given their redundancy offers but are turning up to work with nothing to do.”

Despite Mr Thompson’s stating no decision had been made, he said  “the five Sterilising Unit staff have been offered redeployment opportunities.”

“MLHD aims to keep GBH Sterilising Unit staff informed about the proposed agreement and has held several meetings with employees about their options in recent months,” he said.

According to MLHD, once the Agreement is finalised it will then go NSW Ministry of Health.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard agreed to review the decision to privatise the department before the October 14 Murray by-election, following concerns raised by GBH staff.

At the time he likened the decision to Sophie’s Choice, a reference to a movie where a mother had to choose which one of her two children would be killed by the Nazis.

Member for Murray Austin Evans said he is confident the best outcome will be made for the Griffith community.

“What we want is the services we desire delivered in the most economical long term costs,” Mr Evans said.

“I don’t know whether is will be a combination of the two, or whether one is big enough to cover it all, that is going to be a part of the service plan.”

Controversy has followed the announcement to move the department, with GBH’s medical staff council slamming the decision last August.

They questioned the practicality of the move as most surgery was done at GBH, as well as stating there was no consultation with or informing of the department’s staff.