Disappointing answer for hospital team

A FULL review of departments at Mur- willumbah District Hospital will be carried out early next year, with suggestions by concerned hospital advocates to be taken on board. North Coast Area Health Service CEO Chris Crawford yesterday met with members of the Murwillumbah District Hospital Support Committee to discuss a submission made to NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher in September. Committee members were hoping for some definitive answers to their suggestions, but will now have to wait until February for a response, pending the finalisation of the review of the hospital. Doctor Alan Secombe, visiting med- ical officer (VMO) told the Tweed% Daily News on Thursday there were five key areas that the committee wanted addressed by NCAHS and Ms Meagher. These included: n No further diminishing of services, administrative or clerical. . An autonomous children's ward . Surgical services and the use of theatres to be increased to improve efficiency . The appointment of a skin surgeon, a general physician, a rehabilitation specialist and a second obstetrician. . Assurance there will be no further diminishing of services, covertly or overtly, at the Murwillumbah hospital. Dr Secombe said yesterday, follow- ing the meeting with NCAHS, that the committee was disappointed all deci- sions about the hospital were on hold, but said it was important administra- tors compared "apples and apples" not --------------- --------------- "apples and oranges" during the% review. "There is some concern that the way the review has been set up will be dis- advantageous to the hospital," Dr Secombe said. "We have to make sure it is fair, and not comparing Murwillumbah hospital to smaller hospitals offering a smaller range of services." Mr Crawford said the review, which has already been conducted for the hospital's obstetrics and gynaecology departments, would be conducted in January, and that the committee's sub- mission would form part of the review process. "We have set up a consultative com- mittee to then consider the review, set out an action plan and look at ways to work through the issues identified at the hospital," Mr Crawford said. "The committee can expect a res- ponse regarding their submission dur- ing February. "The review will look at all departments. We are looking at providing the services differently but more efficiently. "By and large I would expect we will be doing pretty much the same volume of patients at the Murwillumbah hospi- tal," Mr Crawford said.

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