X-ray patients suffering

THE lack of operational x-ray facilities at the New Norfolk Hospital were starting to have an adverse impact on patients, Greens MHA Tim Morris told State Parliament late last month. Following-up his earlier question to health minister Michelle O’Byrne raised the matter again on the adjournment on June 22.

“Tonight I would like to rise to follow on from a question that I asked the Minister for Health last week in relation to the x-ray unit at the New Norfolk District Hospital,” Mr Morris said. “I asked her whether the government would look at re-opening that facility. The brief response she gave me was that the government would look at seeing if they could find a consultant. That, of course, is not the only option available.The other option that is very logical would perhaps be for the government to operate that service itself and to employ a radiologist to provide that service.

“I have a report today of a patient at the New Norfolk District Hospital who was this morning in some urgent need of an x-ray. They were taken to Glenorchy for that x-ray and whilst travelling down to Glenorchy their condition significantly deteriorated – for some reason of which I am not aware,” Mr Morris said. So this is while we have potentially a fully-equipped radiology section at the New Norfolk District Hospital, established and run by Rush Tracey a number of years ago and subsequently by another operator.  I suspect the government itself may have utilised that facility and run that facility at some stages.

“Everyone from the Derwent Valley and the Central Highlands who comes down through the Derwent Valley now has to come at least to Glenorchy to access radiology services whilst there is a perfectly good radiology department sitting idle at the New Norfolk District Hospital,” Mr Morris said. “I would urge the government, in response to the comments from the minister last week, to keep an eye out for a private operator.  Yes, it would be lovely if a private operator would come in and operate a five part-day or five full-day a week service.  If that is not possible it would be good for the government also to look at whether it might be able to provide staffing to keep that facility open at least for a few hours each day.

Mr Morris said there was “quite a significant demand” for an x-ray service in the Derwent Valley, both from the hospital, dental services, Corumbene aged care home and the former Ouse hospital. “We have a community of more than 10,000 people in the area who have to drive away from their local services because that service is closed. I would encourage this government to seriously look at the options that might be available for re-opening and providing that service from New Norfolk because we are starting to see and have reports of adverse outcomes for individuals because that service is not available.”

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