Maclean Hospital.
Maclean Hospital.

Health district announce Maclean Hospital change decision

AFTER community and staff push-back against a proposed reconfiguration of Maclean District Hospital, Northern NSW Local Health District has announced they are backing away from the plan and have announced it will defer any decision on reconfiguring wards to a new advisory group.  

NNSWLHD this morning said it will establish the Maclean Community Advisory Group to help steer plans for local healthcare services following feedback from hospital staff and the Maclean community.

In early February the NNSWLHD stirred controversy following the release of plans for a reconfiguration of the wards at the hospital, amid concerns the second level acute ward would be closed and beds redistributed into the current level one subacute ward, leaving 33 beds available for both subacute and acute patients.

NNSWLHD chief executive Wayne Jones said the district would establish the group to provide input into the ward reconfiguration proposal, as well as future plans for healthcare in the area, following feedback which showed the community was keen to be more involved in planning and reviewing local health services.

"I want to thank the community and our staff for their input and involvement over the last few weeks," Mr Jones said.

"It's clear that the Maclean community wants to be more involved with the plans for their local hospital.

"We have listened to what the community and our staff have had to say and we acknowledge that we need to improve our consultation processes.

"We will delay any decisions around the proposed reconfiguration of wards at the hospital until the community has had further opportunity to provide input."

The Maclean Community Advisory Group will include local residents and it is hoped membership will reflect the diversity of the Maclean community. The group will be similar to the already established Clarence Community Advisory Group, which was formed in July 2019.

Mr Jones said the Maclean Community Advisory Group will provide a dedicated forum for regular discussion with, and input from, the local community.

"This new advisory group will enable our Local Health District to engage effectively with the Maclean community about local healthcare needs and services, both in the short and long term," Mr Jones said.

"The new advisory group will provide a great opportunity for local people to represent their community and be involved in health planning, as well as gain a more in-depth understanding of the hospital system."

As with other community advisory groups recently established around the District,

applications for the Maclean group will be by Expression of Interest, and will be advertised shortly through local media, the NNSWLHD website and social media.

Due to any decisions being deferred, and the creation of the new community advisory group, the district will not hold a further community consultation this week.

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