The Minister for Health

Northern NSW Local Health District administrators have recently announced the proposed closure of the Murwillumbah children’s ward citing a recent decline in admission rates as the primary reason for this decision.

We believe the statistics to be an unfair representation of local need as they are based on the recent staff shortage in children’s ward whereby:

• Paediatric nurses are used to fill staff shortages on other wards.
• This leaves no specialist paediatric nurse to care for paediatric admissions to Murwillumbah hospital.
• Patients are being transferred to other facilities for management instead of being treated locally.
• This keeps occupancy statistics for Murwillumbah children’s ward artificially low.
• These statistics are now being used to justify the closure of the ward. In actual fact, it is clear from hospital data that a significant proportion of Tweed Hospital admissions come from Murwillumbah and outlying areas.

The executive plan is to replace the children’s ward with a short stay paediatric room in the emergency department.
 This will be a one bedded room in the emergency department where patients could potentially stay for up to 8 hours.
 This does not allow for more than one paediatric presentation at any given time – extra paediatric patients will need to be nursed alongside adults in the emergency department or be transferred to The Tweed Hospital or another facility and managed via their emergency department.
 General adult emergency departments are not appropriate places to keep paediatric patients for extended assessment and monitoring and so paediatric patients will be transferred to Tweed (either via ambulance or private car).
 There will be no appropriate paediatric facility at Murwillumbah.

Given the large community of families with children that make up the local population, and the projected growth of this demographic in this area, it is unacceptable that distant health service administrators, who have little regard for issues and views at a community level, can decide that Murwillumbah doesn't need a paediatric ward without the voice of the community being heard.

Please sign our petition and give our community a voice in this important issue.

We, the undersigned, call on the Minister for Health to ensure the Children’s Ward at Murwillumbah District Hospital remain open, properly staffed and available for appropriate paediatric admissions to Murwillumbah hospital.

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The Save the Murwillumbah Children's Ward petition to The Minister for Health was written by Friends of the Murwillumbah Childrens Ward and is in the category Health at GoPetition.