Pambula emergency at crossroads: POLL

Emergency care must be retained says the community.

Emergency care must be retained says the community.

Round the clock access to hospital care in emergencies is the highest priority of the communities of the Far South Coast and in order to provide this some form of emergency care needs to be retained at Pambula, according to Wolfgang Kasper (Professor of Economics – retired) of Tura Beach.

Professor Kasper was addressing the Pambula Health Service Community Engagement Committee (PHSCEC) ahead of the committee’s meeting Thursday, August 7 when the tough issues of the emergency department and the number of beds at Pambula hospital will be discussed.

The emergency department at Pambula is considered to be invaluable by local residents particularly as there are no after-hours medical services.

While the vast majority of patients attending Pambula’s emergency department do not have life-threatening symptoms, equally they are not comfortable waiting until the following day or until after the weekend before seeking medical advice.

Professor Kasper said: “The committee now has before it a report that PDH Emergency should be closed, because it is deemed of insufficient quality.” He said that experts stipulate utopian standards and then recommend withdrawal of services that fall below those standards. 

“The vast majority of local citizens have been happy with, and grateful for, the emergency services at PDH, at least as a first point of access to treatment and triage. 

“Would it not be utterly perverse to conclude that the service we highly value is no longer good enough, so that we must be deprived of it completely?”

But independent chair of the committee, Les Stahl said he remained optimistic that a solution could be found.

“These are complex issues but everyone agrees that they want the best option for the community.”

Mr Stahl said that Professor Kasper’s presentation was well received. “In many respects he reinforced what we are doing. He talked about the importance of having a long term vision and recognises that Pambula needs to work in tandem with the regional hospital.”

The committee has already agreed 25 proposals and talks continue on Thursday on the remaining five. Notes from the previous meeting can be found on the SNSWLHD website under community engagement.

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