Bega district letters to the editor, March 17

CELEBRATION: Big W Bega celebrates staff who received their five-year pins at a recent morning tea put on by management (names below).
CELEBRATION: Big W Bega celebrates staff who received their five-year pins at a recent morning tea put on by management (names below).

Ensuring best interests

The BDN headline on February 24 says it all regarding SERH’s decision to dismiss orthopaedic surgeon Chris Phoon and not renew his contract because he dared to push for improvements to patient management accountability and professional standards.

The other two orthopaedic surgeons Matthew Nott and Krishnankutty Rajesh are understandably angry and are giving their colleague their support.

So where is SERH coming from? It seems it is a move to cover up their own inadequacies. Who are these bureaucrats supposed to be supporting? It should be ensuring the best interests and quality care for patients at Bega’s new hospital.

Twice over a matter of years I organised rallies in Bega with the support of the late Anna Glover, then editor of the BDN.

This was because of inadequacies at the hospital and poor management decisions by the Goulburn bureaucrats regarding building redevelopment. One rally in Littleton Gardens comprised over 3000 people.

I wish I were young enough to again “stir the pot”. We as a community should not be walked over by these health bureaucrats.

Moira Collins, Bega

Health system shambles

I attended the recent meeting at Bega Civic Centre where over 400 very angry ordinary people had a very civilised meeting about Dr Phoon’s circumstances.

It also addressed other related issues such as staff shortages and underfunding.  The audience was given ample opportunity to ask questions.

As a social ecologist, my assessment of this is that it is indeed “payback” and is being conducted to silence an intelligent, knowledgable, experienced and vocal critic of a shameful situation. It reminds me of a headmistress who has lost control of the school and is now expelling a troublesome senior boy.  

The massive problems in the NSW Health system are hardly news. My contact with, and impression of, the new hospital thus far has been that it is a complete shambles.

Last year I waited for four hours in emergency to be seen with a torn ligament and no pain killers - not enough doctors on. My appointment with my specialist oncologist was delayed by two hours because the hospital administration had instructed staff to pack as many people in as they could - meaning consultations were to be “limited”.  To their credit, the medical staff explained this to patients and gave them the full consultation time - thus the delays. 

If I need further orthopaedic care I will now go to Canberra - a shame because Dr Matthew Nott is my regular orthopaedic specialist, and has been for 16 years, but the Bega hospital is not a place I want to go.  The nursing staff are wonderful, always, but they are floundering with heavy workloads.

And don’t get me started on the patient food.  If I want packaged food with no nutritional value, too much salt and lots of unhealthy additives and preservatives, I will catch a plane. 

Quick solution?  Silence the critical voices by, in Dr Phoon's case, retribution.  At least he was committed to stay and work here but it certainly seems many other senior staff didn’t.  And voted with their feet.

I do hope the new Minister, Brad Hazzard, takes swift and sensible action or again, rural NSW will be grossly disadvantaged and Bega hospital dependent on FIFO medical staff with no continuity of care.

Is the state government deliberately running the hospital down and creating a crisis so it can claim it is unviable and therefore privatise it in the way it has done to some others? I would hate to think so,

Dr Anne Marshall, Brogo

Big W celebration

Big W Bega staff presented with their five-year pins recently were Kathleen Nugent, Sarah Andrews, Annette Haigh, Susan Smith, Lyn Cardamone, Megan McCallister, Janelle Glen, Mat Bonomi, Sheryl Harriden, Lindy Kyle and Teena Burnell.


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