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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Telehealth and veto rights

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At last Thursday’s meeting the chair of the Local Health Board (Ms Hazel Bridgett) said she was concerned at the alarm that had been raised by the proposal to replace the Mullumbimby ED night-shift doctor with telehealth.

I agree that local residents are alarmed by the thought of losing the night-shift doctor.

Our representatives at all three levels of government are also concerned and have expressed this either by public statement or their support for the motions put on the night.

Ms Bridgett has said on a previous occasion (email 15/6/2012), and I quote, ’the proposal for nurses to cover the night ED shift at Mullumbimby with backup support from Tweed ED cannot go ahead without the consent of the nurses and that the health service will continue to pay a medical officer to cover the shift’. The first part of this statement was repeated last Thursday night.

Just prior to Ms Bridgett, Nola Scilinato, speaking for our nurses said, and I quote, ‘the nurses don’t support the removal of the doctor from the night shift in ED. They have serious concerns about the ability to provide safe patient care should that arrangement go ahead.’

Since the removal of the night-shift doctors is the stated aim of the proposal and the nurses don’t support that removal, the chair of the board could have reaffirmed, then and there, that the ‘doctor-removal’ part of the proposal was defeated and that the health service would continue to pay for a night-shift doctor.

That didn’t happen and instead Mr Crawford went on to attempt to build a case for the ‘doctor removal’.

The community, once more unanimously, rejected the ‘doctor-removal’ part of the proposal.

The community now seeks a public statement from the board that clearly answers the community’s concerns. If the nurses are accorded a right of veto, doesn’t the community, the subjects to be most affected by the removal of the night-shift doctor, have equally as much right of veto?

Frank Lynch
Save Mullumbimby Hospital steering committee 

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