Griffith mayor John Dal Broi has urged the town to have faith in Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) population projections for a new hospital; and to not be sidetracked by the “distraction” of the campaign to save the old Nurses Quarters.
MLHD have announced there will be no changes to the Clinical Service Plan for the Griffith Base Hospital redevelopment after reviewing the projected population statistics,
MLHD’s Chief Executive Jill Ludford said while the population increase slightly changed the projected bed numbers, it did not change the proposed numbers already in the Health Service Plan.
However Griffith Business Chamber president Paul Pierotti continues to be concerned about the MLHD’s processes and community consultation and engagement.
MLHD’s population projections came under fire after a large difference between population statistics available to Griffith Business Chamber and Griffith City Council versus those in the plan.
Essentially, Mr Pierotti felt population trends were significantly underestimated, so he was concerned a new hospital wouldn’t be able to cater for a larger population.
MLHD said they used the HealthAPP projection tool to compare to population projections provided by the Department of Planning and Environment, and found the plan would cater for a growing population.
“MLHD had already factored in a layer of growth based on feedback received from our clinicians at the consultations held in October and November,” Ms Ludford said.
Mayor John Dal Broi is pleased with the outcome, and encourages everyone to not be distracted from the bigger picture.
Cr Dal Broi also commented on the current campaign to save the now unused Nurses Quarters from demolition, warning it could derail efforts to secure funding for a new hospital.
“It’s no use getting stuck in history, lets move forward - Griffith has to keep moving forward, and having this as a distraction takes away from the bigger picture,” Mr Dal Broi said.
“I believe having a open forum is a good thing, but I see a fair bit of discussion about the nurses quarters, and my opinion it’s a distraction, because MLHD need to have all of the site to build the new hospital,” he said.
“I am not closing the book on what should happen with the building, but when you have local experts advising you to demolish it, you take their advice seriously.”
“What I am afraid of is that if we don’t go to government shortly with a plan saying this is what the Griffith community want, need and worked for, they will say - hang on you are fighting about a nurses quarters, and this will give them a perfect example for them to say, well we might just hang on for 12 months, and we won’t get the funding.”
Push for more consultation
Mr Pierotti said MLHD need to release more information, and says the community needs to know the impact on surgery and other clinical services.
“They refer to the clinician report as to why they didn't need to alter their bed numbers, but we’ve spoken to the clinicians and they aren’t happy with any of it, so there is obviously something amiss there, and we are extremely concerned about the way it is being handled.”
“There is obviously something amiss there, and we are extremely concerned about the way it is being handled,” Mr Pierotti said.
However, MLHD say the consultation with the community has been “extensive”.
“During the consultations, doctors and maternity/paediatric nurse managers identified a shortfall in beds and proposed services were amended accordingly,” Ms Ludford said.
However Mr Pierotti disagrees and said it appears the whole thing seems “cooked,” with the MLHD relying on “bleeding out a prepared line and powerpoint presentation.
“That's not how consultation works, it is a two way street and we haven't had a point where they have proven they are willing to listen to the community,” Mr Pierotti said.