ANGRY RESIDENTS: State member Chris Gulaptis addresses the residents of Coraki at a public meeting to save the local hospital. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
ANGRY RESIDENTS: State member Chris Gulaptis addresses the residents of Coraki at a public meeting to save the local hospital. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

Passionate plea: open our hospital

THE residents of Coraki and surrounding districts are angry and frustrated.

More than 20% of the town, that's over 200 people, attended a public meeting organised by the Save the Hospital group and the Coraki Village Voice neighbourhood association at Coraki Hotel last week to decide a plan of action on how they could save their Coraki and District Campbell Hospital.

The 108-year-old hospital has been closed since October 2011 after a huge hail storm damaged a part of its roof, and is awaiting a structural report before being reopened.

The depth of commitment locals have towards their hospital couldn't be more obvious than at the public meeting held last Thursday night.

Resident's need their hospital.

Story after story from residents, some very emotional, was shared on how they or their loved ones had benefited from having a hospital in town.

Local builders and plumbers expressed their frustration at the length of time taken to "fix a leaking roof".

"Other hospitals leak, such as Lismore, Casino and Bonalbo," one resident said.

"They bloody leak but they don't close them."

Another resident described how brilliant the hospital had been with all its services.

"We had surgeons and mental health facilities," she said.

"They keep downsizing us."

A common concern by residents was the fact that each time the hospital is closed, the number of beds is reduced when reopened.

"There's been four or five attempts to close this hospital and each time we lose beds," another resident said.

"If and when they open this hospital we want nothing less than what we had before."

All levels of government support the town

Representatives from all levels of government attended the meeting to offer their support in the fight for the hospital, including Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan and a phone-in from Page MP Janelle Saffin.

Resolutions to come from the meeting included writing to the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research Jillian Skinner and the Northern NSW Local Health District Board and chief executive for an urgent response, as well as the Save the Hospital Committee seeking an independent infrastructure report on the building.

A petition is also circulating in various outlets throughout Coraki and Woodburn.



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