WE NEED IT NOW
Region’s top doctor says Tweed hospital is struggling to cope:
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.”
WE NEED A NEW HOSPITAL: Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council co-chairman Dr Mike Lindley-jones.