Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly is willing to work with state health minister Brad Hazzard to help fix issues at the South East Regional Hospital, following the resignation of health district chief executive Janet Compton.
“Clearly there was something wrong with the management of the hospital,” Dr Kelly said.
“I always felt with the Dr Phoon situation it should’ve been worked out around a table, not with scalpels at 20 paces.”
Dr Kelly said it was evident after a meeting with Mr Hazzard earlier in the year, there were staffing and operational issues at the hospital.
“Clearly it has a lot to do with resources,” he said.
“I’m keen to work with Brad Hazzard, I do respect him, but there is a systemic problem here.”
A recent community survey conducted by his office across the electorate, found the top issue for voters is health, Dr Kelly said.
Dr Kelly said the state government has prioritised metropolitan hospitals over rural and regional hospitals for political gain, since the federal government’s 2014 budget changes to hospital funding, and the breakdown of the National Health Reform Agreements funding guarantees.
“People in rural and regional NSW will put up with more,” he said.
“The state government has to lift its game, or they’ll be going for the high jump.
“We’re in a fight here for our rural and regional economies.”
He called for greater transparency, and the need for better funding in health and education, which he said are key factors in attracting business to regional areas.
“What we’ve seen locally is not good enough, it’s not what this community deserves,” he said.
“Whatever I can do to get it fixed, I will.”
Business as usual, says acting health district boss
Meanwhile, a 38-year veteran of the health district, who began her career as a psychiatric nurse at Goulburn’s Kenmore Hospital has been given the task of leading the health district until a new chief executive is recruited.
“Despite the change, staff continue to deliver an enormous range of high quality services right across southern NSW,” acting chief executive Julie Mooney said.
“It’s a business as usual approach with all services continuing as normal throughout the district.
“We’re looking forward to building on the positive results at South East Regional Hospital in Bega, as we continue to implement the recommendations of the Reid Review.”
May’s review by Highlands Health Consulting described the hospital’s culture as “almost tribal”, headed by an executive team “perceived as elitist and not engaged in role-modelling collaboration”.
The term “culture” was mentioned 46 times in the 33 page review.
“We’ve already seen a real shift in the culture, through listening and engaging with staff and clinicians with many excited about the new direction,” Ms Mooney said.
“We’ll also be engaging again with the local Goulburn community with the next stage of the hospital redevelopment.
“Schematic designs are being worked on, with the aim of holding community consultation meetings in the final quarter of this year to give everyone a clearer picture of what’s being delivered.”
The acting chief executive welcomed the appointment of Dr Allan Hawke to the board, and said she is looking forward to working with the newly appointed chair.
“Dr Hawke’s local knowledge and track record in public administration puts the Health District in an ideal position to prioritise community involvement and listen to local concerns, which is our real focus,” Ms Mooney said.