Mullumbimby hospital will lose its overnight doctor in July and emergency patients will be faced with communicating to a medical officer via a specially developed video hookup, the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNLHD) has confirmed.
Under the new system, patients presenting to the Mullumbimby Hospital after 10 o’clock at night would be assessed by a doctor based at Tweed Hospital. Alternatively, the night medical officer at Byron Hospital could tend to them.
The system, called Connecting Critical Care, has already been trialled within the Coffs Clarence and Hastings Macleay networks ‘where all centres offered a high-density population and each network contained a base hospital,’ according to the Australian Centre for Health Care Innovation.
The move comes on the back of the closure of the Campbell Hospital at Coraki and the night-time closure of the emergency department at Bonalbo.
Plans are already well under way, with Ballina MP Don Page telling local media that there would be a five-month trial of the system and that he believed $145/hr paid to overnight doctors could be better spent at Mullumbimby.
Echonetdaily understands an average of two patients per night attend the Mullumbimby Hospital emergency department.
Nurses will meet tomorrow to discuss the issue.