Enterprising Eden man opens can of worms with his hospital door-opening wedge

OPEN AND SHUT CASE: Wayne Longford with the wedge used to hold open the door to enable him to get wheelchairs in and out. Picture: Liz Tickner
OPEN AND SHUT CASE: Wayne Longford with the wedge used to hold open the door to enable him to get wheelchairs in and out. Picture: Liz Tickner

An enterprising Eden man is hoping for a positive outcome after opening up a bureaucratic can of worms with a wooden wedge.

Three times a week, Wayne Longford picks up his father and another man – both of whom are in wheelchairs – from BUPA Aged Care in Eden and takes them to the South East Regional Hospital for renal dialysis. 

Mr Longford parks in car park number 4 at the $187million hospital in Bega just after 7am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But that’s where his problems begin.

The door to the hospital’s renal dialysis unit is not self-opening, making it difficult to manoeuvre two elderly wheelchair-bound men. 

So, a resourceful Mr Longford cut a wedge from a piece of wood to prop open the door to enable him to more easily get the two men in and out of the unit.

However, all he managed to open was a bureaucratic can of worms and he was soon told he was not allowed to use the wedge because it was a potential security issue.

Mr Longford has no complaints about the renal unit’s staff, whom he calls “angels”. Nor does he have any complaints about the inside of the unit, which he says is vastly superior to the previous Bega District Hospital’s. 

But despite the hospital’s price tag the building does have shortcomings, he said. 

Apart from the issue with the door, there is no covered area to provide shelter from the elements while unloading and loading patients at the unit, which means that in inclement weather all three of them get wet. 

Tired – from ferrying his “two boys” between Eden and Bega three times a week for the past three-and-a-half-years – and frustrated, Mr Longford contacted the Magnet.

The good news is that help may soon be at hand. 

“Wendy Hubbard, general manager of the Bega Valley Health Service, is looking forward to meeting Mr Longford,” a Southern NSW Local Health District spokeswoman said following representations from the Magnet.

“A meeting will be held soon to discuss his issues and how to best assist him into the future,” she said.

Mr Longford welcomed news of the meeting, saying it was “just great”. It was scheduled to place on Wednesday as the Magnet went to press.

This story Thin edge of a wedge first appeared on Bega District News.