Unfailingly keeping the health needs of the local community in the spotlight, Dr Danny Ryan has written to Nambucca Shire Council requesting support in a bid for additional funding for a CT scanner in the new Macksville and District Hospital.
In his letter he wrote that doctors and nurses find the delays and difficulties associated with trying to arrange transport and scans at Coffs Base Hospital very frustrating.
"There is no doubt it causes delays in diagnosis and unnecessarily prolonged and costly hospital stays. It is also possible that the lack of a quick diagnosis and subsequent timely treatment could lead to the loss of a life," Dr Ryan wrote.
He said Macksville and District Hospital patients were currently taken on the 120km round trip either by hospital transport or ambulance.
"Transport costs are considerable both in dollar terms and patient suffering.
" ... this leads to delays in diagnosis, treatment and discharge. Coffs Harbour Base Hospital is busy and understandably their patients will be given priority, but it does mean unnecessarily prolonged admissions in Macksville Hospital."
The council's general manager, Michael Coulter, said the prioritisation of patients based on residential status rather than clinical triaging indicated an inequity of treatment that was unacceptable.
The cost of the equipment is about $3 million and Dr Ryan said local health professionals were sure a CT scanner would pay for itself within a few years.
Councillors voted to write to the NSW Minister for Health requesting in the interest of timely and equitable diagnosis for residents, provision of space be made and additional funding sought for the inclusion of a CT Scanner at the new Macksville and District Hospital.
Mid North Coast Local Health District Chief Executive, Stewart Dowrick said a CT scanner was not included in the $73 million Macksville Hospital Development, however the Local Health District was looking into the feasibility of locating a CT facility within the new hospital in the future.