Friday, 10 February 2017
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed a new contract that could see further medical services at Inverell Hospital within weeks.
Medical Services Australia has won a tender to recruit and manage medical staff at Inverell Hospital from the 1st of April.
Hunter New England Health has struggled to fill vacancies at Inverell Hospital, leading to instances where the emergency room has been left without an assigned doctor, and visiting doctors have been called in to fill the demand.
Mr Marshall says the situation has been unacceptable – and hopes the new contract will successfully fill the gaps.
“Medical Services Australia have made a commitment to recruit a pool of ten more doctors by April 1,” Mr Marshall said.
“Those additional doctors will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give the Inverell community the medical services it deserves. No more will patients present to the Emergency Room, and have to wait for a doctor on rounds to attend to them”
The decision comes off the back of a meeting between Mr Marshall, Inverell Mayor Paul Harmon and the Chief Executive of Hunter New England Health, Michael DiRienzo in December. At that meeting, both leaders demanded answers and a resolution to the ongoing staffing issues.
Mr Marshall said this announcement is an important milestone.
“In December, Hunter New England Health acknowledged there were significant issues with staffing, and it had work to do,” Mr Marshall said.
“I appreciate that it’s not always easy to attract doctors to smaller towns, but the issue was at crisis point. This tender is the first step towards seeing an improvement in services”
Hunter New England Health says the doctors will be added to the Inverell workforce, not replace existing staff. Contracted workers in the GP clinic will only attend to urgent primary health care jobs, ensuring the town’s existing General Practitioners will continue to have work.