Wooden wedge given all-clear to hold open door at South East Regional Hospital

WEDGED: Wayne Longford with his wedge outside the renal dialysis unit entrance at South East Regional Hospital.
WEDGED: Wayne Longford with his wedge outside the renal dialysis unit entrance at South East Regional Hospital.

Wayne Longford will continue to use his wooden wedge to keep an automatic door open at the South East Regional Hospital until it is fixed.

Bega Valley Health Service general manager Wendy Hubbard assured Mr Longford last week that he could continue to use the wedge to keep the door that leads to the renal dialysis unit open.

Mr Longford was previously told he was not allowed to use the wedge when he drops his father and another man – both of whom are in wheelchairs – at SERH for renal dialysis three times a week.

But after meeting with Ms Hubbard, common sense prevailed.

“He was so resourceful in making his own wedge to help him get the patients through the door and he seems quite happy to keep using it,” Ms Hubbard said.

“We at the hospital are very appreciative of what he has done and we welcome the kind of feedback he gave us through the local media.”

Ms Hubbard is looking into assuring the automatic door operates as intended.

Mr Longford was full of praise for the general manager.

“She was really, really great,” he said.

“She couldn’t understand why that was a security threat.

“I know there are teething problems at the hospital, but even she could see this was absolutely ridiculous.”

After the pair met in Ms Hubbard’s office, they went to the scene of the issue where it was decided the wedge could continue to be used.

The story triggered a strong response from the community and was swiftly resolved from both parties.

Mr Longford’s daughter, who read the story in Western Australia, advised her father to patent the wedge and call them ‘Wayne’s wedges’.

Apart from the issue with the door, there is no covered area to provide shelter from the elements while unloading and loading patients at the unit, which means that in inclement weather all three men get wet. 

Ms Hubbard said she would also investigate any means to protect the trio from wet weather.