Staff relief at GBH upgrade
THERE is probably no word in the English language that could accurately sum up the feeling yesterday when Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin turned the first sod for the $19.7 million upgrade to Grafton Base Hospital operating theatres and emergency department.
‘Better than good’ was a phrase Ms Saffin borrowed from Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson as she addressed the 30-strong gathering of hospital staff and dignitaries, many of whom had fought for decades to see this day.
For theatre nursing unit manager Cheryl Rogan, who began work at the hospital in 1992, today was the culmination of her career.
“All my working life this has been an issue at the hospital,” she said.
Dr Allan Tyson had a similar tale of need and frustrating delays.
“I’ve been here for 16 years and from two weeks after I got here it was obvious that something needed to be done at this facility,” Dr Tyson said.
“The difference between the standard of provision of equipment in this hospital compared to where I’d come from was astronomical.
“Things that I would use on a daily basis in a central metropolitan hospital were just not available to the local community.
“Everybody says the platitudes. Nobody wants to panic the community. Nobody wants to cause very great concern but we, the practitioners who are working here, understood the problem.”
Ms Saffin thanked many people but singled out former Grafton Mayor Shirley Adams and Cr Williamson for their efforts in the long struggle.
And she also paid tribute to the local community for continuing to keep the pressure on health officials and politicians to get the health services they deserved.
The new facilities will begin handling patients from October.