Griffith mayor John Dal Broi has vowed to fight NSW Health’s secret plan to shut down a key part of Griffith base hospital’s pathology services.
Cr Dal Broi said he wants the hospital’s histopatholgy department – which studies diseased tissues – retained in Griffith, rather than relocated to Wagga.
“I will be meeting with NSW Health minister Brad Hazzard when he comes to Griffith in August and seeking some straightforward answers,” he said.
Minister Hazzard will join the NSW premier and other ministers for a community cabinet meeting in Griffith on 17 August.
Cr Dal Broi said he will also urge Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) consult with the Griffith community before making further changes to the hospital.
The decision to relocate the histopathology service to Wagga was made without any prior consultation with either the community nor the hospital staff affected.
This prompted two doctors to risk sanction by taking to social media to appeal for community action.
“Both doctors are highly respected in the community and would not do what they have done unless something really serious had happened,” Cr Dal Broi said.
In a media statement, NSW Health Pathology claimed the change will “improve” Griffith patients care.
Cr Dal Broi said it was wrong for people to blame what’s happening on Griffith’s only private hospital.
“It’s not correct this has anything to do with St Vincent’s hospital.. the is the time for the community to come together”.
On social media, a number of people suggested money poured into St Vincent’s hospital had been at the expense of Griffith base hospital.
Cr Dal Broi said, though, the public hospital has been neglected by governments and MLHD for many years.
“ At present, there is no Griffith representative on MLHB, and this is something for which we are fighting.”
He said with no representation, it’s not surprising our hospital needs are neglected.
For hospital staff, this decision is the latest in a series made without consultation that have weakened its service provision.
Dr Maxwell Hopp, a paediatrician, said on social media “the unilateral decision around six months ago to replace our world class radiology service with the current radiological service providers has been a significant challenge.”
“Clinicians were not consulted until after the fact. When we were informed, I was personally assured that any gaps that may occur during the transition would be filled with locums. This has not occurred and none of Staff Council's (GBH doctors' representative body) multiple complaints or concerns regarding the gaps has even been acknowledged”.
Griffith residents are urged to protest the hospital downgrades when the NSW cabinet comes to Griffith on 17 August.
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