Northern Territory Opposition Leader Terry Mills
Government’s Hospital Spin Putting Lives At Risk
Victor P Taffa
The Australia Medical Association has joined the chorus of criticism over the dangerous confusion caused by the Henderson Labor Government’s announcement of the proposed Palmerston Hospital.
Speaking on ABC radio this morning, president of the Northern Territory branch of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Paul Bauert, said it would be “dangerous” and “unsafe” for Palmerston mothers to give birth at the proposed hospital because of the lack of resources currently on offer at the facility.
“I can see the potential for lives to be lost and the frustration is, are these consultations we’ve been having over the last 6 months real or are they a sham?” Dr. Bauert said.
Opposition Leader, Terry Mills said that Dr. Bauert’s comments confirmed his fear that confusion about what is on offer after hours could lead to time wasted and in an emergency, that time could mean life or death.
“In a lead up to an election the community expects to endure spin but the shameless over selling of something as important as health services is not on.” Mr. Mills said.
“According to the Australian Medical Association, an emergency cesarean section would require access to an operating theatre, anesthetist, paediatrician, obstetrician, nurse and midwife all within 30 minutes to ensure the safe delivery of a baby.” Mr. Mills said.
“Under the current model, the Palmerston Hospital will have no ICU and day surgery only so any Palmerston mum who goes into labour after business hours could be put in a very dangerous position.”
“The Health Minister and this Labor Government are effectively playing games with the health of Palmerston and rural people which is just shocking.”
“Dr. Bauert was also critical of the Government’s consultation process, and questioned whether Mr. Vatskalis actually listened to the Palmerston community and the medical profession.” Mr. Mills said.
“The Minister for Health has said that 50 workshops were held in Palmerston in the lead up to this announcement however, I can count on one hand the number of residents who attended workshops or even knew they were held.”
“To clarify this confusion and bring certainty, I invite Minister Kon Vatskalis to return to Palmerston and tell people plainly what families can expect from this hospital.” Mr. Mills said.
“I know my Palmerston and rural team are close to their community and along with Palmerston resident, Natasha Griggs we will fight to make sure Palmerston and rural residents get what is needed.”
“Another certainty that needs to be locked in is the level of Commonwealth funding to support a quality service for the area and that is something that Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs MHR will fight for in Canberra.” Mr. Mills said.