Let's work to attract doctors
I have met a number of people across the electorate who tell me their biggest issue is access to primary health care.
There are too few GPs and allied health professionals in North East Victoria, and far too few bulk-billed services. The problems associated with long wait times and sub-standard care at our regional hospitals are also largely based in a lack of skilled staff and budget under-delivery at federal level.
I understand the excitement a big-ticket item like a new hospital generates, but how will it be staffed when there aren't enough doctors and nurses to staff the current system?
Helen Haines is all for a new hospital (which seems likely to happen without her advocacy anyway), but where is the plan to attract and retain medical staff to our region?
People in my town have to routinely travel to Wangaratta and Wodonga to see a doctor because the local clinic has a long wait list and regularly closes its books because there aren't enough GPs. Most local surgeries are not accepting new patients.
Accessible, affordable primary healthcare is our first priority, surely. Let's get a plan in place to bring doctors and nurses to our region (and the accommodation for them to stay in!) before we start agitating for a hospital which seems inevitable in any event.
Nadia David, Beechworth
IN OTHER NEWS:
Hospital needed in Wodonga
A new hospital is desperately needed for our area. This has been further heightened by the current COVID pandemic.
During the pandemic there has been a population explosion bringing city folk from the capital cities. Our services have to keep up with demand, the increased population coupled with the possibility of further and potentially more serious pandemics will see our hospitals buckle under the strain.
I feel as though Wodonga should see the next major hospital development, this is because the greater Wodonga region has had a major boost in development with more to come particularly in Baranduda and Leneva.
The current hospital in Wodonga is land locked making further development on that site very difficult.
Please consider my opinion in your decision making, the community of counting on you to make this a speedy and sensible decision.
We may need this sooner than you think.
Ian Moncrieff, Killara
Look green for health site
If the health service is run by Victoria it is logical to place the hospital in Wodonga.
A greenfield site off the Bandiana Link Road would allow quick access from the freeway for Albury residents.
Back in 1984 I was working for the then Victorian Health Commission. The Commission was establishing Regional Paediatric Audiology Clinics across Victoria. With a clinic in Wangaratta it did not make sense to place one in Wodonga so the Commission approached NSW Health and it was agreed to establish a cross border clinic in Albury, providing services from Corryong to Yarrawonga in Victoria and from Tumbarumba to Deniliquin in NSW.
In return Mildura provided services into a large part of NSW. Clinic sites were not an issue. The quality and reach of the services was the driver.