Coraki will be consulted

By Alex Easton

Mid-Richmond residents will get to voice their thoughts on the planned closure of Coraki's Campbell Hospital at a public meeting to be held in the next 12 weeks.

North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford has announced that he wants to close the century-old hospital, turning it into a GP-run health clinic and community health centre.

Mr Crawford said the closure would allow about $2.3 million in health funds to be redistributed across the Northern Rivers, without reducing the level of health care received by people living in and around Coraki.

However, that was not the only option.

Mr Crawford said the health service was considering three models for the hospital: the preferred option of turning the hospital into a GP-run clinic and community health centre, leaving the hospital as it is, or something in-between.

To help decide, the health service is setting up a consultative committee that will include members of the medical fraternity, including from NSW Ambulance, doctors and representatives of Coraki hospital staff, and members of the community.

Mr Crawford said the exact make-up of the committee was still being decided, but said Lismore mayor Merv King had agreed to join it.

He said the health service planned to hold one public meet- ing during the 12-week consultation period, which began on Friday, but had not decided where or when the meeting would be held.

Mr Crawford agreed the Coraki community was unlikely to let their hospital go without a fight.

"We've put this out in good faith. We believe it's in the best interests of the community, but we're expecting a fair bit of de- bate about it," Mr Crawford said.

n The North Coast Area Health Service briefing paper on the hospital can be viewed at http://www.ncahs.nsw.gov.au



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