Tweed Hospital doctor protest not ruled out
TWEED doctors have not ruled out street protests following the lack lustre performance of Richmond's political candidates in response to the medico-led campaign for hospital redevelopment funds.
Medical Staff Council chairman Dr Mike Lindley-Jones expressed concerns the doctors' campaign for an urgent upgrade of the facility had not yet led to any pre-election dollar commitment.
"Action has been minimal. Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash visited with Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser, but no promises were made," Dr Lindley-Jones said.
"Federal MP Justine Elliot phoned and she expressed concern about the hospital and said she'd be happy to look into issues if she was re-elected.
"They've all promised to talk, but there's been no commitment to do anything.
"No stone has been turned, no spade has hit the soil."
Dr Lindley-Jones said there was "an enormous frustration among the staff" as they had been campaigning since 2011 for the most recent redevelopment and would not rule out protest action by its doctors.
"I'm not a union rep, I'm a doctor in the hospital and we've got a united front in voicing our concern that we're struggling to give people the services they deserve," Dr Lindley-Jones said.
"Nothing is off the cards."
Dr Lindley-Jones said the stress within the hospital was evident by recent figures showing 50% of operating theatres' time was devoted to urgent procedures, when most other hospitals spent only 25%.
As recently revealed by the Tweed Daily News, this has led to patients queueing on a five-month waiting list to get on to the official 12-month waiting list for orthopedic surgery.
"We'd like to see our federal representatives come to the party to help fund the MRI, help fund the Cancer Centre, and to advocate for their local hospital within the Federal Government," Dr Lindley-Jones said.
It comes as Murwillumbah mum Jaye Wardlaw, with independent lobby group Get Up!, submitted a petition signed by 1160 people for Tweed Hospital funding to Mrs Elliot's office, with plans to also submit it to Nationals' and Greens' candidates.
Ms Wardlaw said she would "absolutely" support plans for any protest action.
"There's definitely support from the community, the Tweed Hospital is a lifeline in the area, the funding for it is a very black and white issue in everyone's eyes. There's been no sound from the candidates in the area on this issue."