The community has been left reeling after the “shock” announcement general manager of the Griffith Base Hospital and Leeton Cluster has resigned.
Dr Elizabeth Harford has stood at the helm of the hospital since her appointment in 2016, and had almost 10 years within the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).
While many are offering their support for Dr Harford and congratulating her on a “job well done”, there are questions surrounding her sudden departure during a pivotal time in the hospital’s redevelopment.
MLHD Chief Executive Jill Ludford and Local Health Advisory Committee Chairwoman Margaret King extended their gratitude to Dr Harford for her years of service, with Mayor John Dal Broi also expressing his well wishes.
However not all are taking the resignation at “face value.”
I am concerned at the speed of it, especially in the midst of what's going on with the redevelopment.Brendan Catanzariti
Brendan Catanzariti, who has been a community voice advocating for the base hospital and it’s services and most recently involved with the Save Griffith Base Hospital group, queries why her job was advertised before the announcement was made.
“I am in absolute shock,” Mr Catanzariti said.
“I am concerned at the speed of it, especially in the midst of what's going on with the redevelopment.
“With the election coming up, people of Griffith are free to ask questions: Whoever represents us needs to demand a full investigation about what is going on in GBH and within the MLHD - this is only the tip of the iceberg.
“If everything was above board, there would have been a song and dance about it.”
Cr John Dal Broi expressed his thanks for Dr Harford’s work, however suggested MLHD could answer some “questions marks” remaining.
“I was shocked when I heard the news,” Cr Dal Broi said. He hopes the hospital redevelopment wouldn’t see any “set-backs” and staff received the appropriate support.
MLHD declined to comment further on the circumstances surrounding Dr Harford’s resignation.
The GBH general manager position is currently being advertised. In the interim, Marianne Warren, MLHD’s strategy and planning director and a former general manager of Albury Base Hospital, is acting in the role.
Ms Ludford did, however, thank Dr Harford for her “commitment and contribution” and outlined some of her achievements as general manager.
These included overseeing a number of successful projects including the establishment of the MLHD patient flow unit which has streamlined patient transfers across the region.
She said Dr Harford has been an advocate for improving services at Griffith Base Hospital and has been influential in the development of notable relationships within the community.
Mrs King said LHAC was “very saddened” by the news of Dr Harford’s departure.
“It came a as real shock,” Mrs King said.
She said Dr Harford would always go “above and beyond” and would always show support and encouragement for the LHAC and their efforts and initiatives.
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