THE Murwillumbah Hospital children's ward will not be shut down.
The Tweed Daily News exclusively revealed on Saturday that the decision was made last week after the Local Health District board met to consider additional information received by its members to review the ward closure.
"A range of changes will be made to ensure service quality and patient safety to continue to provide appropriate care closest to home," board chairman Dr Brian Pezzutti said.
In a bonus for the community, the ward's services will be enhanced.
Two specialist paediatric clinics will be held every week and the hospital will be linked closer to community health services. A new paediatric room in the emergency department will reduce patient transfers to Tweed Hospital.
Children's clinicians will have to undergo a series of checks and will be subject to reviews by a new committee.
"A multidisciplinary paediatric quality assurance committee will be formed to review any incidents and to provide good learning experiences for clinicians treating paediatric patients.
"The skill levels of all clinicians treating patients on the ward will be verified to ensure they are contemporary," Dr Pezzutti said.
"Clinicians treating patients on the ward will be required to undertake ongoing education to ensure they maintain their paediatric skills and keep up with advances in paediatric medicine."
A review of criteria used to admit patients to the ward will also take place to ensure only patients of appropriate acuity are admitted. An investigation into more paediatric surgeries at the hospital will take place.
"The NNSW LHD Board is committed to providing high quality clinical services in a cost effective manner and this decision about the provision of paediatric services at Murwillumbah Hospital will deliver on both these goals," Dr Pezzutti said.
Residents were angered by the proposed plans to shut the children's ward, with 6000 people signing a petition.
A protest was also held in April when NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner visited to open the hospital's new $1 million emergency department and announced $450,000 in further funding for the emergency unit.