Goulburn community deserves better on health decisions

The State Government and Southern NSW Health District are treating this community like mugs.

In just one week this we have been hit with the news Goulburn Base Hospital might be privatised and that Bourke St Health Service would close by the end of 2017.

Expressions of interest in privatisation were called without any notification or input from staff. The community didn’t have a clue either.

Although EoIs are now mandatory for projects over $100 million, some consultation would have been a common courtesy.

The same goes for Bourke St Health Service, or St John of God Hospital as we still love to call it.

The public affection for this facility is great given its association with the Sisters of St John of God. That special brand of care has engendered great public loyalty over the years.

Goulburn people and staff deserved much better than a sudden meeting announcing the closure.

Southern NSW Health chief Janet Compton says the timing of consultation is always a “balancing act.” Sometimes management needs to keep things “tight,” she told the Post.

On this occasion she has it wrong. Public angst couldn’t be higher.

On Thursday an oncology patient called into the Post, saying she was very upset about the announcement. She found out from a volunteer. The woman pointed out much of the equipment had been funded by community groups. Indeed.

Staff have been treated just as poorly with a drip feed approach to information by management.

The telling omission is the lack of a clear plan on how services will be accommodated at Goulburn Base Hospital.

Ms Compton doesn’t have one at this stage and is relying on staff and others for input. She only speculates that at 60 per cent capacity, Goulburn Base has room. 

But union members say at present, the ageing infrastructure and construction work for the redevelopment make it impractical for some services. It is classic bureaucratic bumbling. 

Silent in all of this is Goulburn MP Pru Goward. Feeling against her and her defence of an increasingly autocratic government has never been higher.  

The community deserves some answers and action from Ms Goward.

Read more:

Health shock

Union bucks up over hospitals

Bourke St plan 'is about service'

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