WE NEED IT NOW

Re­gion’s top doctor says Tweed hos­pi­tal is strug­gling to cope:

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - — Rick Koenig

It’s about what’s best for the com­mu­nity... — Dr Mike Lind­ley-jones

ONE of the re­gion’s top doc­tors says the cur­rent Tweed Heads Hos­pi­tal is “old and worn out” with emer­gency pa­tients wait­ing hours to get a bed as the fa­cil­ity runs at an over­whelm­ing 118 per cent ca­pac­ity.

The Tweed Daily News has pre­vi­ously re­ported the hos­pi­tal run­ning at 106 per cent, mak­ing 118 per cent a new bench­mark for the al­ready over­crowded hos­pi­tal.

Tweed Hos­pi­tal Med­i­cal Staff Coun­cil co-chair­man Dr Mike Lind­ley-jones, whose com­ments come af­ter a protest rally on Fri­day, said he be­lieved the choice of the site was an im­por­tant is­sue but “a bit of a dis­trac­tion”.

“As the med­i­cal staff we’ve al­ways said we’re not ex­perts in choos­ing a site for the hos­pi­tal, we’re ex­perts in med­i­cal care but ul­ti­mately we’re go­ing to sup­port the process,” he said.

“We’ve seen a very tough process and seen spe­cial­ists in the field from traf­fic ex­perts, build­ing en­gi­neers and mod­el­ling ex­perts work­ing on this for a year now.

“A lot of in­vest­ment has gone into that site, so not only do we have a large num­ber of ex­perts ad­vis­ing on the best lo­ca­tion and ev­ery­one is pretty much unan­i­mous that this is the place, we have in­vest­ment and plan­ning go­ing into that site and it would be a real set­back for the whole pro­ject if things were to change.”

Dr Lind­ley-jones said the cur­rent Tweed Heads Hos­pi­tal was burst­ing at the seams with staff do­ing an “amaz­ing job to keep things safe for our pa­tients”.

“It’s not only phys­i­cal space that’s the is­sue, but the services that can be of­fered,” he said.

“Tweed, Mur­willum­bah and By­ron pop­u­la­tions are shunted to the over­crowded Gold Coast Hos­pi­tal for rel­a­tively com­mon med­i­cal services such as an­giog­ra­phy for a heart at­tack and ra­dio­ther­apy for cancer.

“Most ar­eas of this size in re­gional NSW are able to pro­vide these services, but North­ern NSW has fallen be­hind in many re­spects due to a rapidly ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion.

“This is why we need a new hos­pi­tal, now is our time to catch up.”

Dr Lind­ley-jones said “there had been a lot of meet­ings in the back­ground de­cid­ing what services go into the hos­pi­tal so peo­ple can get the treat­ments they need”.

“The new hos­pi­tal won’t be any­thing like the old hos­pi­tal, it will in­te­grate the en­vi­ron­ment with the hos­pi­tal and be a place where peo­ple can get bet­ter and a place where we have ed­u­ca­tion, research, where oper­a­tions will take place, where we can get in­juries fixed and our ba­bies will be born,” he said.

“It will be a dy­namic place that will be a real as­set to the com­mu­nity and that is the mes­sage we re­ally want to try and get across.”

PHOTO: FILE

WE NEED A NEW HOS­PI­TAL: Tweed Hos­pi­tal Med­i­cal Staff Coun­cil co-chair­man Dr Mike Lind­ley-jones.

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