South East Regional Hospital says ‘business as usual’; refuses to discuss surgeon contract

The Bega hospital’s management has said it will be “business as usual” at the facility after one of its surgeon’s contracts will not be renewed. 

Chris Phoon said he was given eight days’ notice his contract at the South East Regional Hospital (SERH) will not be renewed after Tuesday next week. 

The head of the hospital’s orthopaedic department said the decision was made “due to a difference in core values” after constantly pushing for improvements in patient care, management accountability and professional standards.

When the Southern NSW Local Health District was asked what the plan was to replace Dr Phoon, a spokesperson replied management was working to limit the impact on scheduled surgeries. 

“We have highly trained staff who are able to continue with business as usual,” the spokesperson said.  

The LHD was asked what the reason was behind the decision not to renew Dr Phoon's contact, but it declined to comment. 

“SNSWLHD respects the confidentiality of discussions between Dr Phoon and members of management and will not be commenting,” the spokesperson said.  

“Dr Phoon’s current contract was due to expire. The decision not to offer Dr Phoon a new contract was not made lightly, however significant ongoing organisation issues led the health district to take this action.” 

The LHD was asked if management had any concerns over Dr Phoon’s clinical performance, to which the spokesperson also declined to comment. 

“The Bega Valley Health Service works diligently to ensure patient care and safety are maintained to an exemplary standard,” the spokesperson said. 

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