On Monday a morning tea was held for everyone involved with the Walcha Multipurpose Service (MPS) to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the facility.
Walcha MPS manager Kris Smith welcomed everyone and, following a moving welcome to country by Gary Bloomfield, former Walcha Council environmental services director Gerry Moran addressed the gathering.
Mr Moran, who was instrumental in lobbying for a new medical facility, spoke about the background to the opening of the hospital following the introduction of new aged care regulations in 1999.
“Once it was clear that the Elizabeth Crosse aged care wing at the old hospital would not meet the new standards it took six years of work by Council and community meeting with Government to gain approval and funds for a new facility,’ Mr Moran said.
“We had the support of the media and we did everything without criticizing politicians or Hunter New England Health (HNEH). Our success was the result of a combined effort between council, community, politicians and bureaucrats.”
The $10 million Walcha MPS opened its doors in June 2007, just over a year after construction began. Both State and Commonwealth governments provide funding for the mix of health services provided in the facility.
The NSW Government provides the physical facility as well as the recurrent funding for some of the services provided including the acute inpatient facilities, the emergency department, x-ray facilities and community health services.
While the Commonwealth government provides recurrent funding to support the residential aged care services provided in the MPS. All of these services are provided and managed in an integrated fashion. This integration of services ensures Walcha has access to a range of locally delivered healthcare.
The Walcha MPS facility was designed with the input of staff, clinicians and the Walcha Health Committee.
Kris Smith said the Multi-Purpose Health Service facility was built on a site in the heart of the town and for the past ten years has been providing an integrated, modern health care facility for the people of Walcha and the surrounding region.
“A range of community health, hospital and aged care services are linked together on the one site,” she said.
“The MPS represents a major boost to health services for the Walcha community, offering a comprehensive range of services available in one place. It’s also allowed our highly skilled nurses to take on a new level of responsibility to care for residents who present to the emergency department with more minor ailments.”
Over the last 10 years the Walcha Hospital Auxilliary Committee has raised an astounding $84,000 for the facility.
Various items have been purchased for use only at the Walcha site.
“As most equipment only has a lifespan of five years the demand is ongoing,” said Committee chair Vicki McIvor.
Dr Adrian Allen, the hospital’s current visiting medical officer will retire at the end of the month. Hunter New England Health is currently advertising to fill the position and recruitment will remain ongoing until a suitable applicant is found.