Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall described last night’s Inverell health meeting as constructive and positive.
Friday, 4 December 2020
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today announced he, the local community and Inverell Shire Council will maintain pressure on Hunter New England Health (HNEH) to fulfill its commitment to review staffing levels, work culture and help attract and retain more GPs at the new Inverell District Hospital, following a meeting to address community concerns overnight.
Mr Marshall said the meeting of senior HNEH management, local GPs, Health Services Union and Inverell Shire Council was ‘constructive and positive’ and was a huge step forward in addressing a number of issues, which have confronted the local health service in the last 12 months.
“It was a robust, frank but overall positive meeting which identified a number of key issues and agreement to address them all to ensure the very best health care for people of the Inverell district,” Mr Marshall said.
“The meeting was not about pointing fingers or looking into the past, rather, a chance to get to the bottom of a large number of community and staff complaints regarding the treatment of patients and delivery of services at the hospital.
“It was obvious from comments made by GPs there is a severe lack of medical practitioners in Inverell, which is placing extreme pressure on the hospital and its hard-working staff.
“As a result of the meeting HNEH CEO Michael Di Rienzo agreed to investigate and respond to the complaints made to my office about patient treatment.
“In terms of staffing levels, Mr Di Rienzo said he would request, through NSW Health, Inverell be considered for an extra hour to be allocated to the hospital’s nursing ratio, which would permit a potential additional two full-time nurses to be employed.”
A review of staff culture at the Inverell Hospital will also be undertaken, with a report to be delivered to Mr Marshall and Inverell Shire Council in February next year.
“Personally, I was pleased to hear a recent recruitment drive to fill advertised positions throughout the hospital was inundated with applicants wanting to work in the facility,” Mr Marshall said.
“Moving forward I hope this open dialogue with all stakeholders to continue, so we can rebuild the community’s confidence in this state-of-the-art facility.
“I want thank all staff at the Inverell Hospital who do an outstanding job under extremely difficult circumstances and I will continue to work on their behalf to find solutions to problems as they arise.
“I also thank and acknowledge Mr Di Rienzo for attending with his management team and taking on board the concerns and agreeing to work with the community on solutions.”
Mr Marshall added the wider community also had a role to play.
“I was horrified to hear first-hand from existing doctors about the high rates of verbal and physical abuse directed at GPs, Visiting Medical Officers (VMO) and nurses, by patients attending the ED,” he said.
“Everyone at the meeting felt there needs to be a concerted effort from the public, to portray Inverell in a way that makes VMOs feel welcome and part of the community.
“If these visiting practitioners are having negative experiences they simply won’t come back.
“Inverell is a great community and together we need to do more to promote the positives of the town, in the hope of encouraging doctors, specialists and nurses to relocate with their families and start practicing here.”