PRO-PUBLIC hospital lobby group Reclaim the Base has again written to Health Minister David Davis to request an urgent meeting in Mildura.
A letter, penned by group chairman Jill Joslyn, was sent to Mr Davis this week, inviting him to Mildura to meet with the group’s committee.
The request comes after the minister knocked back an invite to attend Reclaim the Base’s public gathering in Mildura on August 26 because of “pre-existing competing commitments” and only a few days after Mr Davis contributed an opinion piece in Sunraysia Daily which said his “door was always open to discuss the future of the hospital with local representatives”.
The minister confirmed his intention to meet with hospital staff “in future months”.
A government spokesperson yesterday failed to say whether Mr Davis would accept the invite, but indicated he would visit Mildura in coming months.
“The minister has been to Mildura on several occasions – prior to and since becoming Health Minister and has met with clinicians and hospital administrators, including the chair of the new community advisory board,” the spokesperson said.
“The minister has also offered to meet with various groups. The minister anticipates that he will be visiting Mildura in the coming months.”
Meanwhile, Mr Davis would also not respond to questions about local MP Peter Crisp’s level of involvement in contract negotiations over the future management of Mildura Base Hospital.
Many in the Sunraysia community were caught off-guard by Mr Crisp’s comments last week that he had “no knowledge of the current status” of negotiations between the State Coalition Government and MTAA Superanuation, which owns the hospital building and holds the service contract.
Ms Joslyn said her committee was keen to meet with Mr Davis and present him with a petition from thousands of community members whose signatures attest to their demand that the Mildura Base Hospital be returned to public hands.
“Since the community first became aware of a process of negotiation regarding extension of the contract, community consultation from Ramsay Health, yourself and MLA Peter Crisp has been completely void,” Ms Joslyn said.
“Why has there been no community consultation sought, given this service is ‘our’ service.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday's Sunraysia Daily 14-9-2012.