During the time of the Baird NSW coalition government an outside corporation attempted to take control of the various groups that provide health and rescue helicopter services in NSW, to generate profit at our expense of course. Several northern NSW life saving helicopter services came together in a formal way and outlasted the threat but were still made to purchase new aircraft. That in itself was acceptable as they had a longer range, travelled faster and carried more equipment and persons.
In our area it also meant a larger hanger had to be funded and some landing positions had to be reconsidered.
Meanwhile I have seen the helicopter have to land in the oval, an ambulance come down to pick up the on board equipment, the ambulance take that equipment to be connected to the patient to the hospital, the patient with the equipment hooked up taken from the hospital by the ambulance down to the helicopter in the park, the patient transferred and then, finally, transported by air.
The lonely heli-pad which was designed and funded by locals just sat there despite local offers to upgrade.
For over three years this has been happening despite the State government splurging billions of dollars everywhere else.
We only needed $800,000 and it is about our health and emergencies.
It is election time and the premier came to town. By some incredible coincidence two wonderful citizens left $400,000 to the hospital, some say for a MRI machine so that their friends didn’t have to travel to Grafton. The premier promised the rest. A long term resident told me there was previous attempt some years ago to also redirect a bequeathal made to Maclean hospital to Grafton.
For me the penny dropped when at the end of the same week the local member says he is starting a petition to spend hundreds of millions at Grafton hospital.
Despite years of incredible local generosity and a state plan which will make Maclean /Townsend region the population epicentre of the valley, Maclean hospital is not meant to survive.
Is the will and donations of the people irrelevant?
NB I write with no authority from our local service; simply as a volunteer and local citizen.
Stan Cousins, Yamba