Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) are fighting to retain a number of publicly-funded rehabilitation beds at Greenwich Hospital on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
Despite providing 25 beds to patients with medical or physical disabilities for more than 40 years, the Northern Sydney Local Health District (LHD) and NSW Ministry of Health plans to withdraw all remaining funds in September.
Nursing staff at Greenwich Hospital have raised concerns that rehabilitation patients will be forced to commute to another hospital for in-patient treatment, at their own expense and away from their family support networks.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the decision to shut down the rehabilitation beds at Greenwich Hospital and relocate them to Graythwaite Ryde Hospital was clearly a cost-shifting move by the Ministry of Health, and would not result in any additional rehabilitation beds.
“Not only will Lower North Shore patients have to cover their own travel expenses for a commute over to Ryde, it could also impact on their access to treatment,” Mr Holmes said.
“The facility at Ryde is not easily accessible via public transport. It is not on a main train line, therefore rehabilitation patients travelling from the Lower North Shore would be forced to catch a number of buses, or pay for a taxi.
“In addition, our members have raised concerns over the differences in admission criterion between Greenwich and Graythwaite, and believe this will impact on access to rehabilitation for some patients.”
Members of the NSWNMA Greenwich branch are collecting signatures on a petition and also meeting with local Members of Parliament to raise awareness about the issue.
NSWNMA members said the decision was another devastating blow to the Lower North Shore community. In 2008, the historic bequeathed convalescent facility, Graythwaite Mansion, in North Sydney was sold off to Shore School following a Supreme Court decision.
Download this media release: Rehab beds stripped from Lower North Shore patients
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