Eden speaks out on Pambula Hospital

Members of the Eden community have been given the chance to provide feedback on proposed recommendations for the future of the Pambula Health Service and Hospital, when the new South East Regional Hospital opens at Bega in 2016.

Independent chair of the Pambula Health Service Community Engagement Committee (PHSCEC), Les Stahl, visited Eden on Wednesday to meet with various community groups.

Mr Stahl outlined the six key recommendations that the 14-person committee is likely to make to the NSW Health Department later this year, asking for feedback from local community groups.

Those recommendations are:

* Access to preventative health services, including the opportunity to participate in healthy lifestyle and illness prevention programs.

* Multiple points of immediate access to health services, including the retention of community nursing services and the emergency care centre at Pambula.

* That patients collected by Ambulance will be taken to either Pambula Hospital, the South East Regional Hospital or evacuated to a major city hospital, depending on their medical needs. Pambula Hospital will be used for low-care patients.

* Access to a range of follow-up services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological services.

* Around 10-15 low-care beds at Pambula Hospital, with priority given to elderly patients.

* Outpatient services in the hospital and in the home.

Mr Stahl said the committee’s goal is to get as many priority services as possible for Pambula, and that community input is a vital component of the proposal to be put to the Health Department.

“You’ve got to crawl before you walk,” Mr Stahl said.

“Before we ask for the money, we’ve got to make sure that the services that you ask for are what the community wants, that they’re priority services, and that they’re achievable.

“That’s what we’re likely to recommend, but health services funding is limited, and at the moment, there’s no money [allocated] for any of that.

“There has been a consultation process over the last three or four years, and as a committee we’ve sifted through all the community feedback to come up with these recommendations.

“Now I’m back here to make sure we’ve got it right.

 “Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll have some pretty good indications back from the Health Department and the politicians about whether what we’ve asked for is palatable and achievable.”

A healthy turnout of 22 members of the Eden Men’s Shed turned out to hear from Mr Stahl on Wednesday morning, providing positive feedback.

Mr Stahl also held discussions with the region’s indigenous elders, the Eden Country Women’s Association and local doctors during his stay.

For PHSCEC’s meeting notes, monthly communiques and information about committee members, visit http://www.snswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/community-engagement/page

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