Marshall tables motion in Parliament demanding better services
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has upped the ante in his push for better health services across the region, tabling a motion in State Parliament calling on the CEO of Hunter New England Health to resign, or be terminated, should local hospitals not be fully staffed and full services restored.
Mr Marshall gave notice of his motion yesterday, expressing his deep concern with the actions of the Health District’s CEO Michael DiRienzo of cannibalising various services and staff from outlying health facilities to support larger centres, especially the District’s hub at Newcastle.
The MP said if immediate steps were not taken to rectify the dire situation facing the region’s health services and hospitals Mr DiRienzo should step aside.
“It’s blindingly obvious to anyone that the further you are away from Newcastle you are the worse off your health services will be,” Mr Marshall said.
“We are at the end of the line in this massive health district and this motion is the culmination of frustration and anger in the community.
“The message is clear – we want our staff and services back and we want an end to the Newcastle-centric decision making which has seen a gradual diminution of our local hospital services and support to our frontline nursing staff.
“There has to be accountability directed at city-centric bureaucrats, funded by the taxpayer, who are willing to prioritise the health of metropolitan patients to those in the bush.
“This motion is an ultimatum, demanding the HNEH CEO fully staff and resource all hospitals and health facilities outside Newcastle, particularly within the Northern Tablelands.
“This means a full return of Intensive Care Units, operating theatres and other critical acute services, ensuring patients are treated as close to home as possible.
“It gives me no pleasure to take this course of action, but our communities have had enough, our nurses have had enough and even our regions Mayors and other community leaders have had enough.
“There has to be either a massive change in the approach of health service management or a change of management.”
Mr Marshall’s motion also asks for the Parliament to support an analysis of the benefits of reinstating the former New England Area Health Service, a more local and manageable health district.
“There must be a comprehensive investigation into the feasibility and benefits of dismantling the Hunter New England Health District and reconstituting the former New England Area Health District,” he said.
“Establishing a smaller health district that directly recognises and services the needs of rural people is the only way to improve efficiency and health outcomes.
“This move would also be greatly aided by the establishment of a dedicated Department for Regional Health, which is also something I fully support, and call on the Government to act upon prior to the next election.”
Mr Marshall’s motion is set down for debate during the next Parliamentary sitting period.
“I, along with the local community, sincerely hope we see action before the debate comes on in the Parliament,” he said.