Exterior of the Nimbin Hospital.
Exterior of the Nimbin Hospital. The Northern Star Archives

New doctor to start work at Nimbin hospital tomorrow

THE region's health boss has rejected claims that patient care is being compromised at the Nimbin hospital due to a lack of staff.

Concerns have been raised that there is currently no doctor at the hospital.

But Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive, Wayne Jones, said a new general practitioner/visiting medical officer had recently been appointed to Nimbin.

That person is due to start work tomorrow.

"The recent retirement of a long-term GP has meant that hospital coverage has been provided by on site nursing staff and by a doctor remotely on-call for the interim period until the new practitioner starts work,” Mr Jones said.

"Two new registered nurse positions for Nimbin have recently been recruited to, with these positions starting in the next month.”

If a doctor is not present at the Nimbin and Casino hospitals, patients are assessed by a first line emergency care registered nurse.

"This nurse has phone contact with the Lismore Base Hospital emergency physician, as well as access to the Connecting Critical Care TV (telehealth) linked to the LBH Emergency Department,” Mr Jones said.

"Nursing and medical staff at Nimbin MPS are also connected with NETS, the Newborn & Paediatric Emergency Transport Service, and other state-wide networks.

"Ambulance transfer is available where required.

"Where there are instances of short-term roster shortages, management works in collaboration with workforce to provide cover in those circumstances, which at times includes nurses undertaking overtime.

"This is monitored to ensure adherence to the Award requirements.”

Mr Jones said the health district was committed to maintaining health services for the Nimbin community.

He said they were working with North Coast Primary Health Network and the Rural Doctor Network to explore strategies to improve recruitment and retention of doctors to smaller health facilities on the Northern Rivers.

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