BATHURST'S firefighters have come out in support of the city’s nurses who are fighting to keep Bathurst hospital from losing five beds.
The bed closures are set down for Monday, June 3.
Almost a dozen local firies have already signed a petition opposing the bed closure and are encouraging the people of Bathurst to do likewise.
They are also urging everyone to join in a community rally in Victoria Park on Wednesday.
The rally has been organised by the Bathurst branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association and will get underway at 12.30pm.
Emergency services personnel, regional councillors, MPs, business owners, and community members have been invited to come along to the rally and fight for their hospital.
Secretary of the Bathurst Branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Cathy O’Neill said the lunchtime rally is to make the community aware that these bed closures will lead to further downgrading of services at Bathurst Base Hospital.
“This community is amazing. They saved Daffodil Cottage, they saved the Heritage Building and now we are hoping they will save the hospital,” Ms O’Neill said. “These closures will affect everyone in the community in some way.”
She said consequences may include increased waiting times for elective surgery, compromised patient safety, patients being transferred to other facilities and even doctors leaving the hospital.
“The hospital needs to save $3 million – cutting five beds is not going to do it.”
She said there will be letter box drops to advise the community of the rally.
The nurses will have the petition at the rally on Wednesday and then at the Farmers’ Market next weekend.
Organiser Darius Altman from Western NSW Local Health District also wants to see doctors, nurses, councillors and community members opposing any further cuts to Bathurst health services.
He said once there are bed cuts it has a flow-on effect which damages the local economy.
Mr Altman said 4.8 full-time equivalent positions will be moved across the hospital to fill vacant positions.
“Those five positions will disappear,” he said.
He said one of the outcomes will be that Bathurst people may have to go to another town for their surgery.
Mr Altman said surgeons hours will also be cut, and this could see them move elsewhere, which will lead to a further downgrading of Bathurst hospital.