DIAGNOSIS: Ballina GP Dr Christopher Jambor warns of an exodus of Northern Rivers medical staff.
DIAGNOSIS: Ballina GP Dr Christopher Jambor warns of an exodus of Northern Rivers medical staff.

Mass exodusMass exodusMass exudus inevitable

By ZOE SATHERLEY

Ballina doctor warns that the horse has already bolted DR CHRIS JAMBOR, the Ballina Hospital Medical Staff Council chairman, believes a mass exodus of medical specialists and GPs from the Northern Rivers health system is inevitable.

"The horse has already bolted. I know of many doctors who have made plans to leave the region," he said from his Grant Street medical practice.

"People might think this health crisis is just affecting specialists, but it is having a disastrous flow-on effect to GPs and their patients as well.

"They can't give their patients proper care and are totally disillusioned and despondent.

"For example, I had an accident patient come in with a broken hip the other day, in terrible pain.

"I stabilised the patient and rang the receiving orthopaedic specialist at Lismore Base Hospital who told me there was no point in sending the patient there as they could not operate.

"This did not even qualify as an emergency.

"It is a truly shocking situation which is happening frequently.

"Now we are losing patients who are asking for referrals to Queensland doc- tors because they feel they will be able to get them into a Queensland hospital.

"This is disastrous for our local GPs."

But Chris Crawford, chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, said he hoped the GPs concerns would soon be allayed.

He said he has now employed extra locum anaesthetists from Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, and hopes to restart elective surgery by next Monday.

The Northern Star will publish full details of his position tomorrow, as well as a response from anaesthetists.

They are upset because they have been blackbanned from working in the region's hospitals as locums, despite offering to come back for their old pay rate to give more time for negotiations.

LBH Medical Staff Council will also respond.

Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opin- ions@northernstar.com.au



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