Griffith Base Hospital’s medical staff council has again written an angry open letter to Health Minister Brad Hazzard, condemning Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) for ignoring their input into the planning of a new hospital.
The letter, signed by Dr Jaya Narayanan on behalf of the council, stated the staff representative body “unanimously felt that nothing we had expressed as requirements and future needs for Griffith Base Hospital is included [in MLHD’s planning]”.
The letter also alleges MLHD are planning to transfer more patients from Griffith to Wagga; slams MLHD for lumbering the hospital with an old, second-rate CT scanner; and for its decision to close down the hospital’s sterilising services despite staff objections.
In response, the MLHD accused Dr Jaya of using “incorrect information”, said consultation had been “excellent”, that the new plan “clearly proposes more specialist services be provided locally in Griffith”.
The MLHD also extended the deadline for for comments on the plan until close of business Monday 12 March.
Will hospital beds, treatment spaces and services really increase?
The MLHD says the number of inpatient beds and operating theatre capacity will increase substantially in the new hospital.
Dr Jaya said the MLHD is using St Vincent’s private hospital facilities in their counts.
“How they figure this out is concerning because at no time have they agreed to allowing patients from our public waiting lists to be done there,” Dr Jaya said.
The letter also said, “all the information and feedback given to MLHD management is falling on deaf ears”.
More patients transferred to Wagga?
The medical staff council were also concerned about a reference in the plan to the establishment of a dedicated after hours service to safely transfer patients to Wagga, saying “MLHD management is gearing towards transferring more acute surgical patients to Wagga, and have a follow up clinic in Griffith”.
The MLHD said there is no such plan.
The medical staff council also slams the MLHD for closing down the sterilising services and handing them over the private hospital, “inspite of our protests that the base hospital is more in need of having its own upgraded [service] because of major surgery and emergency work being done here”.
The letter also challenged the MLHD claim there will be no difference to taxpayers costwise due to the outsource.
“The sum of 560,000 dollars annually was quoted as the cost of the outsourcing service,” the medical staff council letter states.
The MLHD said, “the single unit avoids unnecessary duplication of services, allows instrument sharing and ensures and ensures both hospital have an excellent level of service”.
The MLHD have not released figures on the cost of the outsource v cost of retaining or upgrading the public hospital service.
What has changed?
The medical staff council had previously written a letter condemning MLHD mismanagement in July last year.
Griffith was promised a new hospital following mass protests over downgrades to services in September last year.
The new hospital plan can be viewed here. Send your feedback by emailing MLHD-FeedBack@health.nsw.gov.au.
Read the medical council staff letter and MLHD response in full.