MP puts in for hospital

By NEELIMA CHOAHAN

THE community lobby group concerned over the future of the Murwillumbah District Hospital may get their wish to meet NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher granted sooner after interventions made by Lismore MP Thomas George on their behalf.

The committee's chairman, Ian Ross, and secretary, Jan Glynn, met with Mr George on Thursday in a bid to further their cause of saving the Murwillumbah District Hospital from "being further downgraded".

Mr George said he had already asked Ms Meagher for an interview with the committee members.

"I have spoken to Ms Meagher about the possibility of a meeting with a delegation from the committee," Mr%George said.

The committee had convened for the first time on Wednesday night at Murwillumbah Showgrounds. It formed three weeks ago after a%public meeting in response to concerns that the North Coast Area Health%Service was going to downgrade the hospital.

Some of the administration's measures that upset the community included amalgamating the children's ward with the adult surgical ward, moving key staff to The Tweed Hospital, and halting the selection of a%second obstetrician at the hospital.

The minister and the administration, however, backed down after pro-%tests from local doctors and the result-%ant media attention.

While the administration has given the green light to recruiting a second obstetrician, the committee continues to have concerns regarding the hospital's future.

The members have accused the NCAHS of empire-building at The Tweed Hospital at the cost of the Murwillumbah facility.

Vowing to continue their fight to "save the hospital", the committee on Wednesday night decided to petition the administration and meet with Ms Meagher to discuss their concerns.

Mr Ross said committee members were very happy that Mr George had made overtures on their behalf.

"He has suggested to the minister that she meets with us, so it won't be a surprise when she gets our letter requesting a meeting," Mr Ross said.

Mr George said the committee had his continued support. "Representatives of the committee have brought me up to date on their activities," Mr George said.

"The committee's attitude is they will accept nothing less than what they have got (in hospital services)."

"I congratulate them on their efforts to date."



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