NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard made a short and relatively unannounced visit to the South East Regional Hospital on Friday, his first to the area since taking on the role early this year.
Mr Hazzard was accompanied by Bega MP Andrew Constance and Bega Valley Health Service general manager Wendy Hubbard on a quick tour of the facility.
Stopping briefly to answer a few questions before heading to catch the plane back to Sydney, Mr Hazzard said he was very impressed with the SERH.
“Unbelievable. It’s really an amazing transition to a wonderful hospital. The staff are all fabulous and they love it here, so just in talking them it’s certainly what the area needed.
“There have been some challenges...but the mood today as I walked around is one of very great positivity.
“Patients see when the staff are happy, at the moment staff are telling me they are very happy.”
As to the recent issues on staffing raised by the Nurses and Midwives Union, Mr Hazzard said it was something the Local Health District was looking at closely, but that it was not for him to comment specifically on internal recruitment matters.
“Management have to make those decisions and we now have changes in LHD management and I think it’s more appropriate they work through those issues than a Minister now imposing his views,” he said.
However, he did indicate an announcement on a new chief executive for the Southern NSW Local Health District was to be made, “hopefully soon”
As to why previous head Janet Compton and board chairwoman Jenny Symons left their positions, “those are matters that ministers and health staff have to deal with day to day, but not to necessarily share with media”.
Mr Hazzard said it was positive to see the previously announced 10 new administrative positions now filled, easing some of the load that had falling to nursing staff.
“I was speaking with some of the admin staff today and they’ve made a big difference,” he said.
“The nurses, the doctors feel much happier having that support.”
In addition, it’s understood recruitment is underway for 16 medical and clinical positions.
- Watch the interview below. The voice you hear asking the majority of the questions is Simon Lauder from ABC South-East.