QUESTIONS have been asked, but not necessarily answered, as to why Leeton District Hospital’s operating theatre is not being used.
The theatre was completely renovated and refurbished eight years ago, but it has not been in use since 2016.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s (MLHD) Leeton cluster manager Craig McColm said the surgical services weren’t able to be provided due to the “unavailability of suitably qualified and experienced registered nurses”.
“The hospital is actively recruiting for nursing staff for the operating theatre to ensure a safe, sustainable surgical service for residents,” he said.
“To meet the needs of the Leeton community, additional operating theatre lists have been created at Narrandera Hospital.
“Leeton Hospital has one general practitioner (GP) anaesthetist and one GP surgeon who are providing surgical services to Leeton residents at Narrandera Hospital.”
With those doctors providing their services at the Narrandera Hospital, mayor Paul Maytom asked why their services weren’t being put to use in Leeton.
“We’ve expressed our concerns on behalf of the community about this,” he said.
“It’s a big concern for us.
“The worrying thing going forward is we’ve had the upgrade, we’ve got the qualified doctors, but it's sitting there in limbo.
“We want it back up and running. People are saying to us in the community they are concerned about the hospital being downgraded.
“This is a service that can be provided to the community. We're set up for it and it needs to start happening again.”
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association has been contacted about the issue and it said nursing staff at the hospital weren’t happy the blame was laying with them.
MLHD said Leeton District Hospital had recently appointed several permanent registered nurses and reduced the reliance on agency nurses.
It said it would continue to train and upskill its own nursing staff.
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