BATHURST Regional Council will be asked to support a push to upgrade Bathurst Health Service to become the third major hospital in the Western NSW Local Health District.
A notice of motion to be tabled at Wednesday night's monthly meeting by Councillor Warren Aubin says Bathurst's hospital "remains under-serviced compared to Orange and Dubbo" and calls for the development of a "three-hub referral network model" with all three hospitals on an equal standing.
The notice of motion also calls on Western NSW LHD to dump plans for an emergency orthopaedic service in Bathurst in favour of a full-time service, and for council to open talks with Lithgow City Council about joining forces to push for better health services for both centres.
Cr Aubin, who leads a Bathurst health action group comprising local residents and health workers, said fears that Bathurst's health resources were losing out to Orange and Dubbo were not new but had been ignored for too long.
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"The Local Health District operates with a two-hub referral network, Dubbo for the north and Orange for the south of the region," he said.
"It is acknowledged that Orange is now the trauma centre for this part of the region but this, and the astonishing levels of investment in the Orange health hub by both government and the private sector, has led to Bathurst becoming a lesser status in the bureaucracy.
"The Local Health District should, as a matter of urgency, develop a three-hub network with Bathurst as a hub in its own right and of equal status."
Cr Aubin said the action group had been running for 18 months but they remained concerned Bathurst's needs were still not being met.
"It is unacceptable that people have to travel to Orange for treatment of broken bones or joint replacements and while the [LHD], in conversations with council, has agreed more needs to be done, what is proposed falls well short of a satisfactory service," he said.
"The LHD is proposing an emergency orthopaedic service that will operate at Bathurst on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; patient care after surgery becomes a concern."
Cr Aubin also wants Bathurst Regional Council to start talks with Lithgow about ways to improve health resourcing in both areas.
"Lithgow is part of the Nepean Health District. Perhaps it is time to start a conversation with the council and people of Lithgow about whether a change to the boundaries of the two local health districts would be better for both communities," he said.
"From the perspective of Bathurst, the additional population numbers would justify additional services which the people of Lithgow would benefit from."
Cr Aubin's notice of motion also calls on council to formally commend the Local Health District and Bathurst Health Service for their response to COVID-19, along with the "professionalism and dedication" of the Bathurst staff.
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