Rehab to close by years end

in Lismore on Wednesday night, with a nurse from St Vincents Hospital revealing the hospitals rehabilitation unit will close on December 15.Following the revelation, NSW Nurses Association Lismore Base Hospital secretary Helen ODonnell asked St Vincents CEO Bob Walsh why the hospital had made the decision to close the rehabilitation unit with no consultation.Mr Walsh replied he had had no response from the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) after he sent a letter demanding an increased payment of $540 per patient per day from the NCAHS. The letter also asked for a committment from the NCAHS that rehabilitation will have a life longer than 12 months.NCAHS chief executive Chris Crawford responded immediately, saying the NCAHS had replied to Mr Walshs letter, asking for clarification on a number of issues.Mr Walsh ignored Mr Crawfords reply, simply stating that the unit was closing.The Echo has since obtained a copy of the correspondence between the two hospitals, and the letter sent by Mr Crawford requesting clarification after St Vincents initial letter of demand. The Echo has also obtained a copy of a letter dated five days after Mr Crawfords response from Mr Walsh, which did not respond to any of Mr Crawfords queries and simply stated that as they had not received correspondence the unit would be closing.Speaking to The Echo, Ms ODonnell said she was shocked by St Vincents decision.Theres been no consultation with the community or staff, and the people of Lismore expected more. No-one was expecting this to happen, Ms ODonnell said.A motion demanding the NSW Government maintain 25 rehabilitation beds in Lismore was passed. It was also resolved that a petition be presented to the NSW Minister for Health.Stay tuned for more...


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