Public confidence in hospital questioned

I AM growing increasingly concerned at the lack of any systematic process being utilised to make a decision about the future of the Mildura Base Hospital. 

I fully support John Arnold’s concern regarding the need for transparency and openness about what is being formulated in relation to the contract extension. 

I believe that the announcement of the composition of the new hospital advisory board last week was just a smokescreen designed to cover up the reality that the on-going contract extension with Ramsay is quickly heading towards being a “done deal”.

As a community, I believe we deserve a better process. 

Peter Crisp seems to be implying that we now have a new board with quality members and “all will be well”. 

He is reported as lauding the new board as having the skills to handle people’s complaints and transform them into a form they can take back to the hospital. 

What an incredibly limited role for this committee in a time when every day brings up significant issues and questions about the running of the hospital under Ramsay, which surely needs far wider debate and thorough examination. 

What are the terms of reference of this advisory committee?

Does it consider a wide variety of matters that will help us decide whether to extend Ramsay’s contract or is it part of the package complementing a Ramsay contract extension? 

The issues that have been brought up publicly over the past few months include: the quality and experience of medical specialists; the weaknesses in supervision of junior staff by fewer and fewer experienced doctors and specialists; the significant fly-in of specialist staff; the fly-out of increasing numbers of patients because of an inability to deal with more complex problems; the declining reputation of the hospital as a place to work and develop skills; the question of complicated ownership of the land on which the hospital is built; and the lack of an ability to attract staff because of the inability to offer salary packaging. 

Even yesterday there was a claim that Ramsay has not paid proper award rates for some shift workers. 

Is this a base hospital in which we can have confidence? 

Michael Jobe,

Mildura

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