Wednesday, 5 June 2019
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has today demanded Hunter New England Health (HNEH) abandon its plans to close the Uralla Community Health Service at the end of this month.
Mr Marshall and the public only became aware of the decision to close the clinic was earlier this week, through contact with parents had attempted to book appointments for their young children at the facility next month.
HNEH told Mr Marshall yesterday that the clinic, located at the corner of Bridge and Wood Streets, was unsafe due to the recent exposure of asbestos in the building.
“This decision to rip vital health services out of Uralla was taken without any consultation with the community and with no prior warning – but we’re not going to wear it,” Mr Marshall said.
“It directly contradicts the government’s policy, made clear again recently by the Premier, that no public service jobs are to be removed from regional communities due to the current crippling drought conditions.
“Closing the clinic will see jobs lost in Uralla and local mothers and other patients having to access health services in Armidale.
“The Uralla Community Health Centre provides support to Uralla’s elderly and most vulnerable and I think is mind blowing our older citizens should even have to consider travelling to Armidale to receive treatments like basic wound care.”
Mr Marshall has written today to both Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and HNEH Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo demanding this decision be overturned.
“I’ll be fighting with everything I have to keep the clinic open in Uralla,” he said.
“I have received heart breaking letters from new families who live on farms, are isolated and have had rely on the pre and post-natal services provided by nurses at this facility, to get by during the early stage of parenthood.
“It’s horrible to think a decision which effects so many would be made without any community consultation.
“I understand asbestos poses a potential health risk however I want the service kept open while I work with the management of the HNEH to find an alternative location for the clinic in Uralla.
“I’ve made a commitment on behalf of the community to HNEH to work constructively and quickly with them to find a new premises for the clinic.
“Now we need HNEH to show some good faith by committing to keeping the clinic open and operational in Uralla until a suitable new location can be found.
“The community will not accept this service being ripped away.”