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No emergency doctor on call

Tumut Hospital.

Emergency departments at Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba were without an on-call doctor last Thursday night, forcing the sick and injured to undertake a trip to Wagga Base.

While there are a total of nine local doctors rostered on to provide hospital  cover at Tumut (six), Batlow (one) and Tumbarumba (two), none were available last Thursday night.

It’s not only the only time in recent months that Tumut has operated without an on-call doctor.

With work on the $4 billion Snowy 2.0 project now underway near Talbingo, the prospect of the region being without an emergency doctor on-call has caused considerable concern.

Without an on-call doctor in the emergency room, it increases the prospect of paramedics being forced to take patients to Wagga, in turn leaving the region with fewer resources available to respond to emergency incidents.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District Cluster Manager Maria Roche said full on-call medical cover is currently being provided at Tumut Hospital and Batlow and Tumbarumba Multipurpose Services.

She said all patients who attended the emergency departments last Thursday night were triaged, assessed and appropriately treated.

“When a doctor is not present, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) hospital EDs continue to be open 24 hours with highly trained Registered Nurses with qualifications in emergency care available to triage and assess patients,” Ms Roche said.

“All MLHD district hospitals are supported by the MLHD Critical Care Advisory Service which links smaller hospitals to specialist medical advice via telehealth cameras and telephone.

“As is standard practice, patients requiring more acute care are transferred to the nearest appropriate hospital after being triaged.

Ms Roche said the health service works in collaboration with private General Practitioner (GP) practices in local communities to provide visiting medical officer services at district hospitals.

Tumut remains without a GP obstetrician, forcing birthing services away from the hospital, a situation that has been in place for about four months.

Residents are reminded to call triple zero (000) in an emergency or for general advice and information call Health Direct.

Healthdirect provides free health information and advice online and over the phone. It is available 24 hours, seven days:

•  By phone on 1800 022 222 for advice from a Registered Nurse. The nurse can also connect you to an emergency service if necessary.

• Online at www.healthdirect.gov.au