Moonta hospital

THE community of Moonta and districts was deeply shocked on December 17, 2013, when the Country Times contained a notice from the Moonta health board advising the Moonta community hospital was closing by December 23.

Particularly because the board chairperson used the same media a week earlier to state he firmly believed all necessary structures were in place to ensure a strong future and was extremely confident of going from strength to strength.

The community was not conferred with about this decision and therefore had no opportunity to rectify the problems.

On December 17, the Country Times published a notice advising a public meeting would be held in the town hall but the announcement also said the public could not ask questions. Very democratic?

Considering the abnormal two days’ notice and the heatwave temperatures on that day, the attendance of about 100 community members was a good representation which unanimously showed strong objection to the proposed closure.

They should not have been subjected to the blatant closure priority that was displayed by the former board chairperson and former CEO/DON.

The former CEO/DON provided a brochure to those in attendance which contained excerpts from various exercises the hospital had invoked.

However, it was difficult to verify because of seemingly contentious figures, certainly not the type of facts which could be discussed by the public meeting.

The aim of the brochure to portray separate facets as losses and others as profitable ignored the aims of the community which wanted to fund, build and run a complete complex with each facet supporting the other.

The board and CEO/DON placed preference for advice from city accountants to which they built an abominable case for hospital closure.

However, their advisors being city-based know nothing of country priorities for hospitals.

The reduction in Moonta doctor numbers since the board took control of licence must be urgently remedied by returning the licence to the Moonta doctors. This will provide incentive for doctors to stay longer in Moonta.

Moonta and district community members must immediately lobby the board, council and any other authorities they believe will help provide Moonta doctors with first offer of the medical centre licence.

To the community, you have lost your hospital through lack of support. Please ensure you retain your doctors. Without the licence, they will go.

Cyril Eckert, Moonta

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