One patient sitting on the regional hospital’s orthopaedic waiting list has taken to the streets in protest.
Sixty-year-old Ian Jessop has been on a waiting list for hip surgery for 10 months, and after a chest infection delayed his scheduled operation on Tuesday he now remains unsure when it will take place.
“We need this fixed in a hurry,” the Bega resident said.
“My health is not good, but it’s good for me to protest.”
Mr Jessop has placed a sign reading “Get Brad down here” at the roundabout leading to the hospital, and said he plans to place more across Bega over the weekend.
Mr Jessop is demanding NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard visit the hospital.
“Lots of people were singing out to me in support as they drove past me putting the sign up,” he said.
He said he supports local MP Andrew Constance’s call for an external review of the hospital’s orthopaedic services.
“I feel they’ve sacked this man [Dr Chris Phoon] for telling the truth about what needs fixing at the hospital,” Mr Jessop said.
“If he goes, his wife is my GP, so she goes as well.
“Why do we need a locum when we have a surgeon here who I’ve heard saved a lady’s hand recently?”
Mr Jessop said he was concerned the wait for his operation will effect his health.
“The hospital has told me that once my chest is cleared I will get the first available option, which is no good to me if there’s no orthopaedic surgeon,” he said.
“I hope this will all be resolved with Chris [Phoon] reinstated and a fourth orthopaedic surgeon employed by the hospital, because we have an ageing population and a long waiting list.”
In a media release on Wednesday, health district management said they will contact patients on the orthopaedic waiting list for March to reassure them a surgeon from Sydney will be working at the hospital from March 8.
“We are committed to continuing to provide locum cover for the next few weeks to ensure that all patients are operated on within clinical priority time frames,” the release said.
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