MP attacks hospital closure plan

By ZOE SATHERLEY

WORSE health services for the Richmond Valley would result from the closure of the Campbell Hospital, Coraki, the State Member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, said.

Mr Cansdell said he had received a deputation from the NSW Nurses' Association with figures showing that over the Easter break, Coraki Hospital was filled to beyond capacity.

"They have 14 official beds, but somehow managed to find space for 16 patients," he said.

"On top of that, they had three patients in accident and emergency, with no beds to go to.

"Lismore Base Hospital was full and could not take them, and so were Casino and Ballina.

"If Coraki had been closed, where would these people have been sent to? They'd probably be in ambulances queued outside Lismore Hospital, waiting for a bed."

Mr Cansdell said he had thrown his 100 per cent support behind the community and hospital staff who were trying to keep the hospital open.

North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford said the hospitals mentioned by Mr Cansdell were not full over the Easter holidays, with Casino ranging from 53-73 per cent capacity over that time.

"The $2.3 million we're talking about using to better services is still tied up in running Campbell Hospital," he said.

Mr Crawford suggested the change in admission practices at Campbell Hospital could be a direct reaction to the announcement of the proposed changes.



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