Skinner's commitment to meeting welcomed

IT was encouraging to see Minister for Health Jillian Skinner commit to meeting with representatives of Orange Health Service staff over their concerns about the running of the hospital.

It’s been an issue that has inspired an enormous number of letters to this newspaper, in addition to the hundreds of people who attended a rally in June, which included past and present medical professionals, patients and ordinary members of the community.

Irrespective of the merits of the Orange Health Service Medical Staff Council’s concerns, it says a lot when the region’s most respected people, who work at the hospital every day, are compelled to pass a motion of no confidence in hospital management and protest in the middle of Orange. 

And one can understand their frustration when the person responsible for the health sector does not make time for them. 

But while the commitment has been made, we would like to see a date set as soon as possible.

Upheaval at the health service is not the only issue plaguing Mrs Skinner at the moment – the reason behind her visit on Tuesday was to release Professor David Carrow’s report on Dr John Grygiel, which revealed 28 patients were underdosed during their cancer treatment from 2006 to 2013 and was criticised by the opposite side of politics.

It also came on the back of the deaths of one baby in Sydney and the permanent disability of another when they were given the wrong gas. 

However, Orange has developed a reputation as a health hub and people across a wide geographical area rely on it, but by many accounts, it has not been a pleasant work place for some in recent months.

Maintaining the reputation of the hospital’s staff vacancies as highly sought after will be made all the more difficult if the issues continue and arguably this might be one of the simplest of the three issues to solve.

The Western NSW Local Health District has made positive progress in rectifying the situation with a second meeting scheduled for Wednesday, but the staff council has flagged not all undertakings have been met.

With the Carrow report also taking aim at the LHD for failing to engage effectivly with Dr Grygiel, it can’t hurt to have an independent overseer ensuring the hospital again becomes a happy workplace and correct processes are brought in.

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