STATE VIEW: Hospital growing pains are all part of the process

The Orange Health Service has a growing reputation as “The RPA of the West”.

With more than 100 resident specialists in town and growing numbers of other medical professionals, that reputation is only going to grow, as will use of the hospital (and let’s face it - a growing hospital is not a bad problem to have!).

Keeping pace with the increasing use of the hospital and demand for services will be an ongoing process and take a number of years.

Improving the roads around the hospital is all a part of dealing with what might be termed the Health Service’s “growing pains”.

The pattern is there for all to see.

Services at the hospital improve, demand increases rapidly leading to more resources being required to meet the demand.

Someone suggested to me that the hospital is a victim of its own success. Perhaps that is the way with all good hospitals.

Earlier this week I was alerted to the fact that the chemotherapy services provided at the hospital have also expanded at an exceedingly rapid rate, with chemotherapy patients have more than doubled over the last three years. 

There have been suggestions that the strain on resources is such that patients may in the future be turned away.

As soon as I became aware of this issue I contacted the NSW Health Minister’s office and asked that the matter be investigated.

I have also contacted the Chief Executive of the Western NSW Local Health District, Scott McLachlan and have requested that staffing levels for cancer services at the hospital be investigated, and also that I be briefed on the situation.

I told Mr McLachlan that I (and the community) would find it unacceptable to have chemotherapy patients turned away from Orange to be treated in Sydney (or other locations).

I can’t put it any simpler than that. We are not going back to those days.

Mr McLachlan has given me an assurance that this will not happen and that no chemotherapy patients will be turned away.

That’s a good start.

I will keep the community updated on this issue as soon as I get further information.

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