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Open letter from Modbury Doctors signals open revolt

In an unprecedented step 30 doctors from Modbury Hospital have released an open letter to the Minister for Health highlighting that the damage being done to Modbury Hospital services by Transforming Health is a threat to their local community.

“The fact the Modbury Hospital Consultant Medical Specialist Group has been forced to go public with their deep concerns regarding the Weatherill Government’s plans to downgrade the Modbury Hospital is a damning indictment of those plans and the Government’s failure to engage clinicians at the front line,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.

“The doctors confirm that the Emergency Department downgrade will mean that Modbury will no longer be able to deal with emergencies. For example, there will be no after-hours anaesthetic support to the emergency department. This service has been utilised twice in the last month with life-saving results.

“The doctors highlight that the plan makes no economic sense. On the Health Department’s own figures there will need to be nearly 7500 patient transfers per year from Modbury to Lyell McEwin at a cost of up to $15 million per year. That money could be better spent at Modbury.

The doctors write:

We feel that we cannot agree to such changes, that would appear to lead to increased costs to our community; comprising financial, medical, social and emotional costs

We … believe that these changes will result in increased risks to our patients, in terms of lack of accessibility to expected (current) levels of care, delays in treatment….

The doctors believe patient health will suffer as a result of the Weatherill Government budget cuts, including:

  • The removal of High Dependency Unit facilities, the limiting of acute medical admissions to 48hours
  • The closure of 30 acute medical beds and all surgical in-patient beds, cessation of all multi-day stay surgical procedures
  • The inability to admit and treat any patient from the emergency department with a surgical emergency
  • The shifting of all orthopaedic joint replacements away from the hospital (which has state of the art rehabilitation facilities)
  • The overall decrease in the number of beds in NALHN available for medical patients
  • The failure to provide for a rapid response, after-hours, on-site, anaesthetic airway management service.