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Public forum to probe Lismore Hospital and other services

A public forum into NSW health care service delivery will be held this week.
A public forum into NSW health care service delivery will be held this week. Marc Stapelberg

A NSW Parliament Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the management of health care delivery in NSW is set to hear from residents at a Lismore forum on Tuesday.

A Lismore Base Hospital nurse who does not wish to be named said staff hope the inquiry will give residents "a voice to raise their concerns" to authorities beyond the Northern NSW Local Health District.

"This is a good opportunity for people who have had either a good or bad experience to let the government know about how it was, in a constructive way," the nurse said.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith welcomed the committee's visit to Lismore Workers' Club and also urged residents to make submissions into its investigations.

"The inquiry was re-opened and extended due to concerns about the treatment of Miriam Merten, who died at Lismore Base Hospital in 2014," Ms Smith said.

"I am glad to see that the committee is holding a public forum in Lismore so that they can hear first-hand from people in the Northern Rivers region about their experiences with the health system."

Mother-of-two, Miriam Merten, was locked in a seclusion room at the hospital in 2014 when she hit her head more than 20 times and died from an acquired brain injury, but it was not until this year her story was told by the media.

Committee chairman MP Bruce Notley-Smith the inquiry was a timely opportunity to "examine whether health practitioners and administrators have sufficient information to deliver high quality services and whether patients and their carers are also provided with reliable information to make informed choices about accessing the health system."

The forum will take submissions from current patients, past patients and interested members of the public in an open discussion format.

The forum will be followed by two days of formal public hearings at Parliament House in Sydney on October 30 and 31, where further evidence will be taken from a range of agencies and peak organisations representing the health sector.

Further information about the inquiry can be obtained by visiting the Committee's webpage at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/pac.

WHAT: NSW Parliament Public Accounts Committee inquiry
WHEN: Tuesday, October 24, 2pm
WHERE: Lismore Workers' Club

Topics:  lismore base hospital miriam merten nsw parliament public accounts committee



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