Senator takes Elliot to task over hospital

A NATIONAL Party senator yesterday called on local Federal MP Justine Elliot to honour election promises to fix the hospital system and stand up against downgrading of Murwillumbah hospital.

Speaking outside The Tweed Hospital, Senator Fiona Nash said Mrs Elliot, the Labor MP for Richmond, had to "fight for the people, the local community" against widely expected cuts to Murwillumbah District Hospital services, particularly the maternity service.

Senator Nash slammed Mrs Elliot for not attending the recent community rally which attracted 6000 protesters who wanted to save the hospital, or for speaking out in its defence.

"She is absolutely silent on this issue," Sen Nash said.

"During the election campaign it was all "Kevin Rudd will fix our hospitals".

"They are doing absolutely nothing.

"In fact the Labor Government is doing exactly the opposite."

Sen Nash said she met with four Murwillumbah doctors on Monday and was told they were alarmed not only by pending cuts to maternity services, but the urgent need for more theatre sisters to allow more operating times at the hospital and the need for a second obstetrician.

Yesterday Mrs Elliot issued a statement saying: "Locals have raised their concerns with me about Murwillumbah hospital and I have made these concerns clear to NSW Minister for Health, the Hon Reba Meagher. "Service delivery in hospitals is a state government issue," she added.

"However, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process the Federal Government continues to work together with the states to get better health outcomes for our communities."

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