FORMER Shoalhaven mayor Paul Green, now a Member of the NSW Upper House, has called on the Health Minister Jillian Skinner and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to re-establish the fracture clinic at Shoalhaven Hospital.
After suffering a broken knee prior to Christmas, Sanctuary Point man Wally Bourke, who had to go to Wollongong for treatment as there is no local treatment facility, began a campaign to have a fracture clinic re-established back in the Shoalhaven.
Mr Green has sent the minister a number of questions regarding a local fracture clinic.
“I have asked the minister for a formal answer if we ever had a fracture clinic, which I believe Shoalhaven Hospital did, and want to know why the clinic, which is such a vital service, was closed,” he said.
“I have also asked what may have happened to any funding that may have been allocated to such a clinic and where those funds may have been reallocated to.”
Mr Green has also asked the minister what it may take to have a fracture clinic reopened in the Shoalhaven and if possible a likely time frame for it to happen.
“Also, how much would be allocated per year to run such a clinic,” he said.
“I don’t think it is an unreasonable expectation that a large regional area like the Shoalhaven would have a fracture clinic.
“I believe there is a bid to secure another orthopaedic surgeon for the area and that is a usual issue we have to deal with, trying to secure people with these sorts of specialties to the Shoalhaven.
“I understand that is a large part of the problem.
“Perhaps we should get someone in once a week to cover for such a clinic.
“It is not unusual to get visiting medical officers in the area, maybe they could cover it.
“I’m sure the private guys may be getting some work out of this, but there should be a model for the more vulnerable.”
Mr Green said he has had to endure a trip to the Wollongong clinic with one of his children.
“I just assumed it was because it was a complicated fracture and needed to go to Wollongong for specialist treatment,” he said.
“It’s certainly not helpful as a parent suddenly having to go Wollongong for services that reasonably should be in a regional area like the Shoalhaven.
“I think we have a fair argument to have such a service re-established in the Shoalhaven.”
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock said she raised the issue with the Health Minister, stressing the importance of the fracture clinic at Shoalhaven Hospital.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District said it was attempting to recruit an additional orthopaedic surgeon to Shoalhaven District Hospital, which could allow for the provision of a fracture clinic.
An ISLHD spokesperson said the provision of enhanced orthopaedic services within the Shoalhaven has been identified as a need and ongoing efforts were being made to recruit an additional orthopaedic surgeon to the hospital to supplement the services provided by the one orthopaedic surgeon currently contracted to the hospital.
“It is expected that with an additional orthopaedic surgeon recruited to the region, there will be improved access to acute orthopaedic services for patients experiencing an injury requiring emergency intervention, and provision of a fracture clinic for patient follow up,” the spokesperson said.