Cutbacks run deeper at m'bah hospital

CUTBACKS at Murwillumbah Hospital are increasing - and are not only restricted to administration but include front-line services.

National Party MP Thomas George, whose electorate includes Murwillumbah, has discovered the reduction in employment of health professionals in Murwillumbah extends far beyond the North Coast Area Health Service's failure to replace Murwillumbah Hospital's executive officer to front-line services.

The cutbacks even include speech therapy offered to young children.

One young mum, who does not want to be identified due to fears of repercussion, yesterday revealed her daughter's speech therapy had been put on hold for at least six months because the service was no longer offered in Murwillumbah.

The young Murwillumbah mum has been told she must take her three-year-old daughter to The Tweed Hospital to continue speech therapy.

However, there is a six-month wait for this service because demand at the Tweed is so heavy.

“My doctor says she is a priority,” said the mum.

“She was having speech therapy in Murwillumbah last year but the therapist took another job because it was permanent.”

“They chose not to replace her and now there is a six-month wait at Tweed.”

Mr George said the loss of the speech therapist was part of a pattern at Murwillumbah.

“Again, here's a front-line service that's been done away with by stealth or vacancy,” he said.

“People are making themselves available but the area health service won't give them jobs.”

A health service spokesperson said the recruitment process to fill the Murwillumbah speech therapist's position had been approved and interviews were taking place this week.

She said the child concerned had been placed on a waiting list, as she had already received some treatment, but others were yet to be seen.

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