We should be alarmed at the news that Mullumbimby Hospital emergency service may lose its doctor during the 11pm to 7am shift. What is the Health Department thinking?
This hospital services not only Mullumbimby township, Ocean Shores, Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel but the outlying communities in Main Arm, Wilsons Creek, Huonbrook, Mullum Creek, and The Pocket. Our area is also a popular tourist destination and more recently a venue for major music events which all bring thousands of extra people here. A population of this size – both permanent residents and visitors – surely warrants, at the very least, one doctor on call around the clock for emergencies. (The low level of remuneration for the local rostered doctors is another issue that urgently needs to be addressed.)
The absence of a night-shift doctor will make things more stressful for the night nurse and will likely require more ambulance transfers to Tweed Hospital. Such costly transfers will negate any imagined cost saving flowing from the proposed cut in our local service. The ‘low use’ argument is also irrational: do we throw out stand-by fire-fighting rosters for the night shift because this is a low-use time?
And is Tweed Hospital ready for increased call on their emergency services?
So many people have stories of the care and reassurance they have received from Mullum Hospital when they needed the help of a doctor in the middle of the night. A properly resourced hospital is a vital part of a community of this size and demographic. Let’s not lose lives and limbs because of a government’s overriding focus on cost cutting.
There is a public meeting on 18 June at the Civic Hall in Mullumbimby at 7pm. Please come and show your support for our hospital service before it is too late.
This is an emergency!
Julie Gardner, Wilsons Creek