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May 10, 2021

Upper house hearing into Mullum hospital

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The NSW Opposition has stepped up its pressure on the O’Farrell government and its decision to replace the emergency department overnight doctor with a video link at Mullumbimby Hospital by demanding the senior bureaucrat front a parliamentary hearing on the matter.

Yesterday it was agreed that Northern NSW Health District chief executive Chris Crawford would attend a parliamentary hearing into the matter next month, together with the minister and a long list of other health bureaucrats.

NSW upper house MP for north coast issues, Walt Secord, has welcomed the decision by Labor parliamentarians to formally request that Mr Crawford attend the Budget Estimates investigation into Health and Medical Research as part of General Purpose Standing Committee Number 2.

‘This is about getting to the bottom of this matter: the community, nurses and doctors at the hospital are united against the decision to replace the emergency department doctor with a video camera,’ Mr Secord said.

‘This is now a sorry saga with National Party [north coast state] MP Don Page saying he was against the camera when he was at a community meeting on the north coast and then, in state parliament, saying he supported the video link.’

The hearing will take place on October 8 between 2pm and 6pm at state parliament.

Mr Crawford has been called along with health minister Jillian Skinner, health department director-general Dr Mary Foley and deputy directors-general Dr Kerry Chant, Karen Crawshaw and Dr Tim Smyth, acting deputy director-general Dr Nigel Lyons and CEO John Roach.

‘All bureaucrats called to the parliamentary hearings are required to field questions from parliamentarians; they are under oath,’ Mr Secord said.

‘On September 6, the NSW Nationals and Liberals stopped debate on the Mullumbimby Hospital in the NSW Legislative Council. We now have an opportunity to ask questions about the decision behind the Mullumbimby Hospital video link – and the Liberals and Nationals cannot stop us,’ Mr Secord said.

‘Hopefully, the NSW Nationals and Liberals stop their cost-cutting measures, reverse the decision and restore the emergency department overnight doctor,’ Mr Secord said.

The full membership of the GPSC Number 2 are: chair, the Honourable Marie Ficarra (Liberal); deputy-chair, the Honourable Paul Greens (Christian Democrats); the Honourable Jan Barham (Greens); the Honourable David Clarke (Liberal); the Honourable Jenny Gardiner (Nationals); the Honourable Shaoquett Moselmane (ALP); and the Honourable Helen Westwood (Labor).


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