Patient claims nurse numbers cut

A local woman claims the number of nurses at the Women’s Health Clinic has been cut despite assurances from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke that they have not.

Regular patient at the Women’s Health Clinic Vicki Prest said she discovered that Young had lost one nurse without any warning or announcement.

“I tried to call to make an appointment but couldn’t get on to the nurse, instead I got a call centre,” Ms Prest said.

Ms Prest said the only remaining nurse has been away due to health reasons. “I thought someone’s going to get sick over this,” she said. “It’s just not good enough.”

MLHD Manager Priority Population Emma Fields said two nurses were job sharing before one retired and since then the current nurse was off work for health reasons. The MLHD reconfigured the services last year according to Ms Fields and there has been no loss of positions in the reconfiguration process but they have added a visiting doctor on a six week rotation across the area.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke backed up the MLHD’s statement.

“The women’s health clinic plays a critical role in regards to the specific well-being of women and is a vital service in our region for all women,” Ms Cooke said.

“As I understand it, the MLHD commenced a model of care in March 2016 to focus on improving the health and wellbeing of women living and working in the region and this takes in to consideration the new cervical screening recommendations which are due to come in to effect from December 1, 2017.”

Ms Cooke wanted to reassure the public that all MLHD’s women’s health nurses have been retained and now work with vulnerable population groups with an initial focus on Aboriginal women, women with disability and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across the MLHD.

“The Women’s Health Nurse position in Young is continuing and in addition, a new visiting specialist women’s health doctor has commenced this year in Young,” she said.

NO CHANGE: There has been no change in the number of Women's Health nursing positions in Young according to the MLHD.

NO CHANGE: There has been no change in the number of Women's Health nursing positions in Young according to the MLHD.