Deaths doubled: GP
THE VOICE of Coraki GP Rosy Craig was choked with emotion as she told The Northern Star the number of deaths among residents of the aged-care facility next to the Campbell Hospital in the town had doubled since the hospital had been closed following a hailstorm last September.
"I'm very upset at seeing people who would rather die than be moved to other hospitals," Dr Craig said.
"They're becoming very depressed by the situation here, and so am I."
Dr Craig said the usual death rate at the mid-Richmond residential aged-care facility atCoraki was one a month, but 11 people had died since September.
The executive director, Richmond Clarence Health Service Group, Vahid Saberi, denied there had been an increase in the number of deaths.
"When people are accepted into residential aged care facilities it is usually because they are approaching the end of their lives," Mr Saberi said.
Mr Saberi said to bring the Campbell Hospital infrastructure up to a standard to provide "safe and appropriate" health care would cost about $2 million. A schedule of works for the hospital includes the storm damage and a long list of "minor works".
Dr Craig's partner is Gerard Criss, chairman of the Save the Coraki Hospital committee, and the practice manager of the Coraki Medical Centre where she works.
Mr Criss yesterday told The Northern Star that repairs to the hospital's roof and box gutters are covered by insurance to the amount of $99,200, leaving only $17,400 to repair storm damage.
He said the hospital has an operating budget of about $200,000 a month.
"The hospital was closed for four months in 2010 and now it's been closed for six - that's 10 months - that should mean $2 million was saved," he said.
"Why isn't that money available to complete all the repairs on the list?
The Local Health District Board will meet next week.
Board chair Hazel Bridgett said the board had commissioned a clinical services plan to assess health needs at Coraki.
"Community representatives will be invited to join the steering committee," she said.