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Bourke to retain hospital services

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Bourke will not lose its local hospital services as suggested in a Sydney Morning Herald article last week, according to senior health officials.

Western NSW Health District Chief Executive, Mark Spittal poured cold water on the idea of Bourke Hospital closing due to critical staff shortages forced by crime and safety issues at the hospital and in town.

Last Friday, the Western NSW Local Health District Acting Chief Executive, Mark Spittal, responded to these issues on 2WEB.

Mr Spittal told 2WEB’s Noni Kuhner that issues in the Bourke community were aggravating an already difficult staffing situation at the hospital, but he said the LHD was committed to making sure there were enough staff and nurses to run the facility.

“There should be no concerns the LHD has any less commitment to making sure the (Bourke Hospital) service is run,” Mr Spittal said.

“We’re just going through one of those difficulties, just like so many other industries are in remote parts of NSW to make sure that we have enough staff on the ground.

“It is clear that we have some staffing issues at the moment that have existed for some time and of course they’ve been exacerbated since the start of the year because of some of the ‘local issues’ that are going on in the Bourke community.

“We have enacted parts of our business continuity plan – drawing on staff across our district and other parts of the NSW health system to make sure that we are able to staff the Bourke facility while we are recruiting permanent staff,” he said.

The crisis facing the Bourke Hospital was highlighted in a major city newspaper last week, with leaked internal memos alleging the hospital was in danger of closure due to staff shortages.

The report in the Sydney Morning Herald sourced an internal email from Sharon McKay, Acting Executive Director of Operations at Western NSW Local Health District to senior staff.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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