Thursday, 23 March 2017

Our View (15-3-2017): Public meeting calls

A PUBLIC meeting would provide a chance for the many people affected by the impending cuts to surgical services at Yorketown Hospital to truly be heard.

Numerous residents have asked Member for Goyder Steven Griffiths about the possibility of such a meeting, and he has expressed support. Many envisage it being similar to the massive and influential meeting led by Mr Griffiths which helped save Yorketown Hospital almost nine years ago.

About 700 people filled the Yorketown Town Hall to protest changes which could have sunk the hospital in late June 2008.

Only a fortnight later the YP Country Times announced the hospital was safe, and would no longer be downgraded.

Could the same happen again?

Maybe. But people will have to become highly organised and get plans into motion as soon as possible.

These services are to be removed from Yorketown and relocated to Wallaroo in little more than a fortnight. Although the state government has backed down on hospital changes within two weeks before, this time around it may be too late to stop the change. That is, at least initially.

But perhaps the public outcry could persuade those in charge to allocate some funding to Yorketown Hospital so these surgeries could quickly return to southern Yorke Peninsula. That would make the move to Wallaroo only temporary, causing minimal inconvenience for our bottom-end residents and visitors.

Yorketown GP Dr George Kokar is willing to continue offering anaesthetics for as long as he can, giving SA Health time to find a replacement for when he retires. Surely someone will be willing to move into the area and offer anaesthetic services so these surgeries can again be performed. Of course, SA Health would have to start looking sooner rather than later.

Everyone who has expressed their concerns about the removal of these services is making an impact, including through the ongoing stream of letters to the editor in this paper.

Time is running out for someone to take the protest to another level.

Will that next step be taken? And who will lead the charge?

Nick Perry, Senior Journalist

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