COMMENT: Healthy interest in hospital-related coverage

You’ll note a number of health and hospital-related articles in today’s paper. For better or worse it’s a big topic of conversation around our family dinner tables and work water coolers.

What’s more important than our health and that of our family members?

Thankfully the positive news coming out of the local medical industry is heading the charge (this week at least).

We have our new South East Regional Hospital logging in to free Wi-Fi for staff, patients, their carers and visitors.

Most readers have welcomed the news and applauded the Southern NSW Local Health District for the free service, the first in any of the region’s hospitals.

Meanwhile, the latest fresh-faced batch of medical student from the Australian National University have arrived this week to get their year-long taste of rural practice.

This is a win for all involved as the community gets the benefit of additional hands and eyes at their local GP as willing students learn what it takes to be a doctor in a regional area. All going well, they could even be enticed to return once attaining their full qualification.

And perhaps it’s pushing the theme a bit, but Jade Moxey’s world-first use of solar induction technology to create sanitised drinking water is an uplifting coup from our region’s youth.  As Jade herself says “the future is in good hands”.

Meanwhile, the significant jump in patients not paying their ambulance fees is an intriguing read from our friend Andrew Pearson at the Illawarra Mercury. 

Around $91,000 remains unpaid by Bega patients who were assisted by our tireless ambulance paramedics – $60,000 of that is from the current 2017-18 financial year alone.

Across the entire region, from Wollongong to the Southern Highlands and south to the Valley, there’s more than $1.1million owed to NSW Ambulance since July 2015. That’s $1.1 million!

And Revenue NSW has forked out $402,000 in enforcement costs trying to recoup debts over the same period.

Our paramedics deserve our utmost respect and previous articles covering their issues surrounding troublesome rosters and pay disputes have rightly fired up our community.

While there are undoubtedly many reasons behind unpaid or late payment of ambulance fees, these are surely dollars the service sorely needs.

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