Poor health at the bottom of the food chain

20-12-2018 by admin

The thoughtthat money tends to dwell where power resides seems to be borne out by the ongoing trouble at Milton Hospital, which has just seen a long-standing obstetrician walk out in frustration at the slow diminishing ofthe maternity ward’s ability to handle local demand.

The departure of Dr Brett Thomson comes after a long fight to preserve the level of service available for mothers and babies in Milton. He has simply run out of puff battling the Wollongong-based bureaucracy as it slowly turns the screws on a vital local facility.

There is growing alarm at what appears to be a deliberate strategy of running down the services at Milton’s maternity ward, with many mothers directed to Nowra to give birth.

The removal of vital fetal monitoring equipment from the hospital last week illustrates starkly what the local hospital is up against. Demands to have it returned were met but it was a fight that should not happened in the first place.

Mothers facing birth complications should not be forced to undertake the trip to Nowra. The expectation they do so adds further strain to the ambulance service, let alone Shoalhaven Hospital in Nowra, which suffers a host of its own resourcing problems.

There is a growing suspicion that the Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District bureaucracy is moving towards a home birthing model for the southern Shoalhaven but that presents its own set of potential problems, not the least being the lack of midwives.

Particularly alarming is Dr Thomson’s assertion many local midwives have, in utter frustration, walked away from the profession by letting their qualifications lapse.

Eyes were focused on health funding earlier in the year ahead of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in March when it was suggested the states consider raising the Goods and Services Tax to pay for improved health services. Unfortunately, that bold opportunity was lost and small communities like Milton Ulladulla appear condemned to suffer the death by a thousand cuts to their health services.

And as that happens we are destined to see more doctors like Brett Thomson walk away.Worse, we are likely to see the few doctors who remain in chronically under-resourced public hospitals make poordecisions because they are simply too overworked.

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