‘Give us another try’

Second chance: Bega Valley Health Service general manager Wendy Hubbard and nurse manager Kelly Jurd in the Pambula Hospital ATC.
Second chance: Bega Valley Health Service general manager Wendy Hubbard and nurse manager Kelly Jurd in the Pambula Hospital ATC.

The community is being urged to give Pambula Hospital’s Assessment, Treatment, and Care Centre (ATC) another try after a concerted effort by hospital staff and the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) to improve the service.

Over a year ago the community was first urged to use the ATC but it proved disastrous with patients turned away and sent to the South East Regional Hospital (SERH).

But Bega Valley Health Service general manager Wendy Hubbard said now everyone will be seen and will be logged onto the joint computer system so that SERH staff are aware of their arrival if it is necessary to transfer them. Ms Hubbard is also ensuring skills are updated at Pambula with five nurses recently sent to undertake a first line emergency care course.

“Pambula is really important to us and we want to make sure it is running as well as it can and we know this is important to the community too,” Ms Hubbard said.

A SNSWLHD spokesman said the model allows referrals made quicker within the local health system and in the case of patients with minor illnesses and injuries can negate the need to travel 30km to SERH. Although no one will publicly admit it, it is likely a patient would be seen much quicker than at SERH too.

“The Pambula ATC is closely linked and directly supported by the emergency department at SERH. Patients are either assessed, treated and discharged by the registered nurse; referred to a local GP medical service for further assessment or treatment; or transferred to SERH for treatment,” the spokesman said.

We asked what would happen to someone walking into the ATC with a suspected arm or wrist fracture.

“The patient is assessed and triaged, a nurse will further assess and treat the suspected fracture accordingly (splint the fracture if appropriate), pain management will be provided as appropriate and transport will be arranged to SERH for x-ray and orthopaedic consultation,” he said.

Pambula ATC is open 8am-8pm, seven days per week.

Opinion: Pambula Hospital still has an important role