More than 350 people attended the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) community health update in Batemans Bay on Tuesday night (January 16).
Speakers from SNSWLHD, Health Infrastructure and NSW Ambulance provided an update for those attendees at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club Auditorium, on what health services would be supplied for the region, once the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital opened as well as other health service planning and delivery updates in the region. Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips was in attendance.
Peter Ryan from the Don’t Close Batemans Bay Emergency Department Committee also attended and told East Coast Radio it was confirmed at the meeting the Batemans Bay ED would close once the new hospital opens.
“Clearly they’re not interested in keeping the Batemans Bay ED open, as it was confirmed that it would be closed when the new hospital opened,” Mr Ryan said.
“I reckon around 90% of those people in attendance last night were wanting the Emergency Department in Batemans Bay to remain open,” he said.
Mr Ryan confirmed the group are closing in on getting 10,000 signatures on its petition to keep the ED open, which would mean the issue would be taken to NSW Parliament.
The forum in Batemans Bay featured a Q & A session, where one of the largest community concerns to be brought up was around transport in the region and the completion of the proposed Moruya bypass.
“There were huge concerns around the bypass not being completed anytime in the foreseeable future, and that would be potentially putting lives at risk,” Mr Ryan said.
General Manager for the Coastal Network for SNSWLHD, Brad Scotcher, told East Coast Radio the meeting was about providing the latest information about health service planning and delivery in the Eurobodalla and to listen to any feedback from the community.
“It was an update on the progress we’re making towards the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital development in particular and what that’s going to look like in the future and how our services are going to develop across health to support the needs of people across the Eurobodalla region,” Mr Scotcher said.
SNSWLHD Chief Executive, Margaret Bennett, said it’s great for community members to hear the latest information.
“Southern NSWLHD, Health Infrastructure and NSW Ambulance are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that every member of the Eurobodalla community has access to the best health care now, and into the future,” Ms Bennett said.
Wido Melis posted to the Batemans Bay noticebaord on Facebook and described the meeting as ‘cut and dried’.
“The decisions have been made already. One speaker said they’ll have better trained staff. Nothing wrong with staff or doctors now,” Wido said.
Sarah Jones replied, stating “I would have interpreted that comment as meaning there will be better opportunities for training at a level 4 heath facility than at a level 2 facility. Better for staff and patients.”
Sandra Robinson said “Transport for NSW – many discussions around (the) need to build the new Moruya bridge and/or bypass or the trip from Batemans Bay will be considerably delayed with traffic and weather events restricting access to the new hospital and the lack of public transport to what will the the hub for health services in the region.
Works on the Moruya bypass as well as planning safety works and more overtaking lanes from Batemans Bay to Moruya and Moruya to Narooma, are included in Transport for NSW’s 20 year plan from 2020 but no action has been taken for over 12 months since community consultation closed, and the Transport for NSW website states the Moruya bypass project was last ‘reviewed’ on 20 Jul 2023.
Transport for NSW have been contacted for an update.
Images: Transport for NSW, NSW Government