Bega surgeon contract extended amid public outcry, calls for review

Bega orthopaedic surgeon Chris Phoon
Bega orthopaedic surgeon Chris Phoon

Late on Wednesday, NSW Health announced it would be extending orthopaedic surgeon Chris Phoon's contract by three months.

Dr Phoon said last week he was given eight days’ notice that his contract with the South East Regional Hospital would not be renewed in a move he described as "payback".

The decision has been widely condemned in the community as the latest in a series of perceived issues of mismanagement at the new SERH by the Southern NSW Local Health District.

In the wake of the public outcry and media attention, Member for Bega Andrew Constance called for an external review of the orthopaedic services at the hospital as well as the decision to not renew Dr Phoon's contract.

Tuesday, February 28, was Dr Phoon's final day at the hospital, but on Wednesday it is understood he was still making approaches to management hoping to be allowed access to his existing most recent patients for follow up assessments.

On Wednesday night, the LHD released a statement saying the hospital would be “seeking agreement from Dr Christopher Phoon to continue to care for patients over the next three months”.

“During that time a review will be undertaken in consultation with Dr Christopher Phoon and the Australian College of Surgeons to review all aspects of practice,” the brief statement read.

On hearing news of the offer Dr Phoon said he was “guardedly hopeful”.

“Last year the contracts were extended for three months to allow interest to die away and then the surgeons were still told to sign or be replaced,” he said.

“I hope this time it is more than PR and someone from the ministry will actually negotiate to fix this contract debacle for all the surgeons involved.”

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This story Bega surgeon contract extended amid public outcry, calls for review first appeared on Bega District News.