You may be travelling further than you need to for certain surgical procedures.
That’s the message being sent to local residents, who are being reminded that many minor and day surgery procedures can be performed at Pambula Hospital.
A NSW Health spokesperson said these include cataract surgery, minor day surgery orthopaedic procedures (including carpal tunnel, ganglion and knee arthrocscopy), and minor day surgery general procedures (including excision of skin cancers and lumps).
Save Our Hospital Inc president Sharon Tapscott, who also serves on the new Pambula Health Service Advisory Committee, says it is important to ask your GP or specialist whether any surgery you require can be done at Pambula.
“Surgery does happen at Pambula, but it’s quite ad hoc and you generally have to ask your doctor; it’s not something they usually offer you,” Mrs Tapscott said.
“It’s important to ask the question because you could be travelling a long way for something that can be done right here.”
Mrs Tapscott also said that the more local facilities are used, the more likely the Health Department is to provide additional resources.
“Rural people are at the end of the line, and we’re often discriminated against because there are so few of us to make a noise,” she said.
“We’re seeing people referred to Bega, Canberra and even Sydney in some cases, for things that could be done here.
“There is an opportunity to expand our operating theatre, but for that to happen we need to demand that Pambula Hospital is used, and demonstrate that we have a need for it.
“We need to stop accepting our services being downgraded, because the more if happens, the more it becomes the ‘norm’.”
Mrs Tapscott also warned that failing to use the facilities enough could result in job losses for locals.
“Look at an anaesthetist for example; if they’re not getting work, they have to either move away, or stop being an anaesthetist.
“We can’t afford to lose people with these skills.”