Andrew Constance says he has “had a gutful” with the ongoing issues at the South East Regional Hospital and is calling for an administrator to be appointed.
He spoke out following further media coverage of a review into orthopaedic surgeon Chris Phoon and an ABC South East freedom of information request that indicated two additional reviews had been initiated – by the Local Health District, not the state health minister.
One review is into SERH orthopaedic services and the other SERH’s professional services, but the LHD reportedly declined to provide any information about the reviews’ terms of reference or outcomes.
And the documents obtained in the GIPA request show the orthopaedic services review is to be reported to the Southern NSW LHD chief executive, Janet Compton.
Mr Constance said he had “no confidence in the board and administration” and said he would be asking NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to step in and appoint an administrator.
“Everyone knows what needs to happen – we don’t need more reviews. They’ve had enough recommendations now to get on with it,” he told Fairfax Media.
“However, I’m not confident enough in this board to deliver it.
“I’ve had a gutful – between the health bureau and the board we’re not getting the outcomes we should.
“We need change – they’ve had their 12 months, and then some, to transition into the new facility.
“Now it needs accountability. We need someone to be a change agent with some professional integrity to do what’s best for the whole community.
“If people get their noses out of joint, so be it. It needs to be fixed.”
A scathing independent review of SERH, released in mid-May, uncovered a dysfunctional working environment beset by bullying and harassment, poor leadership and under-resourcing since the hospital opened in Bega in March last year.
At the time the review’s findings were released, there was a commitment from Health Minister Brad Hazzard at the time that all recommendations would be implemented.
The reviewers said their 10-point plan, if fully embraced, would serve as a starting point for ongoing improvement.
Recommendation 9 was to “create a detailed communication strategy that keeps staff, patients and, importantly, the community fully informed on the progress of implementing the recommended changes”.
We wait with bated breath...