Photo caption: Calling for urgent intervention – Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, left, and Mayor Paul Harmon outside Inverell District Hospital where there is no on-call doctor in the emergency department for the next five days.
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has today called for urgent and immediate action to resolve the on-call doctor crisis at Inverell District Hospital after being notified that it will be left without a single on-call doctor for the next five days.
Mr Marshall said the community was sick and tired of demanding action from Hunter New England Health for the most basic of health services and that enough was enough.
“I’ve been informed that Inverell Hospital will have no doctor rostered on for any shift, at any time, over the next five days,” Mr Marshall said.
“Paramedics have this morning transferred a patient from Inverell ED to Armidale ED, a journey of one-and-a-half hours, only to make a return trip to pick up another patient and repeat the process.
“There were three more urgent patients-in-waiting at Inverell ED destined to make the same journey today.
“This is extremely dangerous and not good enough for just one day in a hospital the size of Inverell, let alone five in succession.
“We are sick and tired of having to fight like hell just to get Hunter New England Health to provide the most basic of heath care services in our major centres – Inverell is not some remote backwater community and it deserves much better.
“This is an absolute disgrace and someone needs to take responsibility for this situation and front our community because at the moment, we don’t hear a peep from the health service.
“If it wasn’t for the local paramedics, no one outside the hospital would even know about this latest crisis.
“I guess, once again, the Hunter New England Health mandarins are looking down on us from their ivory tower in Newcastle hoping we wouldn’t find out and hoping they wouldn’t have to do anything about it.
“Well, I have some news for them; we’re angry and we are not going away.”
Mr Marshall said he was also concerned about the strain that extended periods of no on-call doctor at Inverell Hospital would have on the local NSW balance paramedics.
“Continually transferring patients from Inverell to Armidale puts a huge strain on local paramedics and I am very concerned it leaves Inverell if there is an emergency situation and the ambulance and paramedics are out of town running a patient to Armidale,” he said.
“The lack of action from the health district could have disastrous consequences well beyond what happens in the hospital.”
Mr Marshall said this latest crisis underscored the critical importance of the region securing its freedom from Hunter New England Health and gaining its own local heath district back.
“The sooner we get the w locally-based New England Area health Service back the better,” Mr Marshall said.
“One thing is for sure, our health services stand very little chance of improving while ever we are shackled to Newcastle, under the heavy yolk of Hunter New England Health and its distant mandarins.
“This latest crisis is yet more evidence of the need for Parliament and government to support my Bill to split the health district and return control and decision-making to our region.”
Mr marshall has made urgent representation requesting the Minister for Health Ryan Park to intervene and retore medical staff coverage at Inverell Hospital’s emergency department as soon as possible.
In the latest statistics from the Bureau of Health Information Quarterly Report, Inverell Hospital had a whopping 2,206 patients present to Emergency in the April to June 2023 period with 514 arrivals by ambulance.