Protest on health
BONALBO residents demonstrated outside Lismore Base Hospital yesterday demanding better medical services from NSW health authorities.
The 400 inhabitants of the village, 105km from Lismore, were directly impacted by the retirement of the local GP on December 31, last year and the end of nursing night shifts at the hospital on April 23.
Fifty Bonalbo residents travelled to Lismore yesterday to show their discontent with the lack of medical services available between 11pm and 5am.
Spokesperson Melinda Martin said the closing of the nursing night shift was never announced to the community "nor were we informed of the reasons why. We had to bleed the reason out of North Coast Area Health".
Bonalbo resident Lorraine Windsor was part of the demonstration because she fears for her health.
Ms Windsor was diagnosed with a heart condition a year ago and is scared that "if I have any chest pain at night I will not be able to get help in time".
James Wasley, also from Bonalbo, is battling melanoma and a secondary cancer, both diagnosed this year.
He is considering moving out of the area because. "I am in pain and I have to come to Lismore every second day to get my drip checked.
"It is not worth living in Bonalbo anymore".
Cedrick Walker, chairperson of the Jabullum Council at Tabulum, supported the demonstration because "we fear that our children or elders affected by asthma may get in trouble one night and not get emergency help on time".
Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) chief executive Chris Crawford said night nursing shift could be restored once a doctor was recruited to work and live in Bonalbo.
"There has been little use made of the Bonalbo Hospital at night by patients over the past three and a half months," he said.
Mr Crawford said a two-hour meeting had been held between the Local Health Network and Community representatives to discuss the nurses night shift, on March 22.
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