LOCAL health authorities say they can find no record of a Bathurst woman being forced to endure a four-day wait and two trips to Orange for treatment of a broken wrist.
The Western Advocate reported on the case last week, sparking a flood of hospital horror stories on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
Councillor Warren Aubin had shared the woman’s experiences at a Bathurst Regional Council meeting last Wednesday night as pressure mounts on health authorities to boost the level of service available at Bathurst Base Hospital.
But in a statement to the Western Advocate on Saturday, Western NSW Local Health District director of operations Mark Spittal said he could not comment on the case.
“We are unable to make comment on the specifics of the patient whose care was reported at a Bathurst Regional Council meeting on Wednesday 5 June as we have been unable to identify the particular patient referred to,” Mr Spittal said.
“However, we urge any patient who is concerned about their care, or how it has been explained to them, to speak to our medical or nursing staff.”
Mr Spittal’s statement goes on to highlight recent investment in the Bathurst Health Service [“almost doubled (increased by 44 per cent) since 2013-14 to $ 92.7 million this financial year”] and says “we are working with orthopaedic surgeons in our district in regards to participating in on-call services to reduce patients travelling for unplanned surgery”.
But the correspondence also highlighted the perceived competition between Bathurst and Orange for health funding – one of the key factors in the growing anger within the Bathurst community.
“Bathurst and Orange Base Hospitals, which are approximately 45 minutes apart, are frequently seen as competitors for health services, investment and staff,” the statement reads under the heading of “background”.
“The willingness of some clinical staff to participate in on-call work has compromised the ability for both sites to work collaboratively to provide an acute orthopaedic service across the two sites.”
Do you love Bathurst news?
- Sign up now for our free morning headlines and breaking news emails