November 29th 2009
The Hon. Carmel Tebbutt
Minister for Health
Governor Macquarie Tower Level 30
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
I write to you on behalf of Blue Mountains HEAL (Hospital Equity & Access Lobby) and the broader Blue Mountains community.
Blue Mountains District ANZAC Memorial Hospital (BMDAMH) is a cornerstone of our community and we need it to provide basic, primary healthcare services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services such as emergency, maternity, paediatrics, orthopaedics and rehabilitation.
Sadly over the past 5 years, service provision has declined at our hospital and Blue Mountains residents are now routinely sent to Nepean hospital and beyond for services that were previously locally provided. This is simply not good enough when we have a refurbished hospital in our midst.
Mountains residents are routinely sent over 53kms down a busy highway for services such as x-rays, the treating of fractures and minor surgery. We are told that service interruptions and closures at BMDAMH are due to an inability to attract clinicians to our hospital and yet we regularly hear from clinicians who would willingly work at our hospital if the “conditions were right”.
Accordingly, we ask that the NSW State Government reclassifies BMDAMH as a rural hospital to enable the paying of higher entitlements to attract clinicians to the hospital. We also ask that the State Government directs Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS) to do everything in its power to re-open the 8 beds that remain closed in the Rehabilitation unit. These beds are desperately needed by our residents.
Minister, we are not asking for anything extraordinary. We are simply asking that our hospital be allowed to function and that the tax payer funded refurbishments completed in 2006 be fully utilised.
Nepean hospital is important for Mountains residents for more complex healthcare issues. We do however require a functioning, local hospital for less complex matters and for the practical reason that Nepean hospital is stretched to full capacity and we have an idle hospital in the Blue Mountains.
76,000 residents and 3million visitors per annum need BMDAMH. We ask that you seriously consider our request for rural classification and that the NSW State Government makes this change as soon as possible.
for and on behalf of HEAL
cc: Mr P. Koperberg, Member for the Blue Mountains
cc: Mr K Hedge, Acting General Manager Nepean Hospital SWAHS