The Southern NSW Local Health District plans to have a nurse practitioner at Pambula Hospital every day from 8am to 5pm starting Monday, December 10.
The nurse practitioner will be able to treat triage 4 and 5 emergencies, suture wounds and write prescriptions and rather than being in situ until the end of the holiday period, will be part of a four-month trial.
President of Save Our Hospital Inc (SOHI) Sharon Tapscott has been advocating for a nurse practitioner at the hospital for a couple of years and believes the trial could lead to a permanent position.
“Whatever the emergency, Pambula Hospital will be able to stabilise the patient and create a pathway of care. People will not be refused treatment,” Ms Tapscott said.
“I couldn’t have been more delighted when I heard the news. This is the most positive story to come out of Pambula Hospital for 10 years,” she added.
Work at the hospital has meant that urgent care rooms, the physio rehab room and consultation rooms are fitted and ready to be used and also have a telehealth link to SERH (South East Regional Hospital).
The reception area has also been redesigned and refurbished and has a mother’s room, play area and toilet facilities. Further renovation work under stage 2 will require the temporary relocation of about 13 patients shortly, either to their homes or SERH .
“Stage 2 work will mean the re-organisation of the wards, upgrades to showers, flooring, toilets and the nurses station,” Ms Tapscott said.
“When it’s finished there will also be two palliative care rooms with their own lounge/family rooms,” she added.
The hospital’s 15 sub-acute beds have been constantly at capacity over the last 18 months, Ms Tapscott said adding that it had helped to take the strain off the SERH.
President of the Pambula Hospital Auxiliary Shirley Rixon also welcomed the news of a nurse practitioner.
“This will be a massive benefit to the community and will free up the emergency department at SERH,” Ms Rixon said.
The auxiliary has raised around $16,000 for the purchase and installation of over bed TVs which also incorporate patient monitors.
The News Weekly understands that talks will be held between the Southern NSW Local Health District, local doctors and unions regarding the start of the trial with the nurse practitioner.